Mateelong fights off fellow cop to claim Meru race
Posted Saturday, April 28 2012 at 20:29
- Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion narrowly beats Mutai to win the 5,000m
Commonwealth and Africa 3,000m steeplechase champion Richard Mateelong on Saturday fought off a strong challenge to win the 5,000m race as the curtains fell on the seventh and final National Bank of Kenya/ AK meeting at the Kinoru Stadium in Meru.
Mateelong had to struggle for the narrow 14:13.4 win, particularly in the last 100meters as his closest rival and fellow policeman, Sammy Mutai finished just a step behind.
Mateelong had ran shoulder to shoulder with Mutai (14:13.8) and Dominic Rotich (14:47.5) and only broke away in the last 50m in a deeply entertaining-suspense filled race.
Following the win, an elated Mateelong declared that he was fit and had set his sights on winning his first Olympic gold medal in the London Games.
He said he had taken the longer race in the high attitude field to build endurance ahead of the national trials.
“This is part of my build-up for the Olympics. I knew I would face stiff challenge from Mutai who I respect very much. I wanted to gauge my speed and endurance and I am glad I won. I feel I am fit to qualify for the Olympics and perform better than 2008,” he said.
Mateelong said he will run at least two other major meetings before the national trials in June. “I intend to take part in the Doha and Shanghai meetings,” he said.
Barcelona Olympics 400metres bronze winner Samson Kitur’s nephew, Lewis Kitur, won the 400 metres race on 48.2 seconds and vowed to work on speed to break the senior Kitur’s record.
Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Mercy Njoroge completed a double after she emerged victorious in the 5,000m race title having won the 1,500m race the previous day.
The Laikipia Air Base runner posted 16:53.3 to win the race ahead of Kenya Methodist University’s Nancy Kathure, on 17:21.7. in a 1-2 replay of the 1,500 race. GSU’s Phyllis Kiptoo completed the top three places after returning 17:38.8.
Njoroge said she was preparing for the Armed Forces competition and was working on enhancing her endurance ahead of the national trials.
Top three positions
“I want to participate in my specialty (steeple chase) during the armed forces meeting. I want to see how fit I am then,” she said. Sensational sprinter Joy Zachary also struck a double when she comfortably won the 200m and 100m races.
KWS runner Cornelius Kosgei took advantage of Mateelong’s absence in the 3,000 steeple chase to win the event in a time of 9:09.2 with Kimathi Karwa of KeMu emerging second on 9:22.3 while Josephat Matelong finished third on 9:27.3.
Kosgei led the race from the beginning to the end. Meru athletes dominated the 1,500 men race and 5,000 walk scooping the top three positions in both events. Promising runner Nathan Mathenge of KeMu clocked 3:52.9 ahead of teammate Stephen Mungathia (3:54.3).