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Kenyan runners are dominant on New Year

Friday January 2 2009

James Kipsang (L) of Kenya and Yimer Wude

James Kipsang (L) of Kenya and Yimer Wude Ayalew of Ethiopa hold their 84th International Sao Silvestre trophy after they winning the race in Sao Paolo, December 31, 2008. PHOTO/ REUTERS 

By CHRIS MUSUMBA and Agencies

Kenyans ushered in the New Year with strong performances in races across the world.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, James Kwambai led a clean sweep by Kenyans as he won the 84th edition of the Corrida Internacional de Sao Silvestre, held on December 31, 2008.

The traditional year-ending event was contested by more than 20,000 runners. The women’s title went to Ethiopian Ayalew Yimer. Kwambai was timed at 44:42 while Yimer stopped the clock after 51:37.

The 32-year-old Kwambai closed a successful 2008 season where he won the “Rock n’ Roll” Half Marathon in West Virginia (60:22) and placed second to Haile Gebrselassie at the Berlin Marathon, where he registered his personal best time in the 42km event of 2:05:36 when the Ethiopian legend set the current world record of 2:03:59.

Kwambai battled compatriot Evans Cheruiyot, winner of the 2008 Chicago Marathon (2:06:25). Kwambai pulled away from Cheruiyot at the 10km mark.

Cheruiyot finished in 45:16.34. Another Kenyan, Kiprono Mutai, was third in 45:28, while Tanzanian Marco Joseph was fourth (45:37).


In Trier, Germany, Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Micah Kogo led another Kenyan podium sweep in the 19th edition of the Bitburger Silvesterlauf. Ethiopia’s Mimi Belete won the women’s race.

The 22-year-old Kogo dominated the 8km race to win in 23:08 ahead of his countrymen Shadrack Lagat (23:21) and Hosea Tuei (23:23). German middle distance hope Carsten Schlangen finished fourth in 23:29.

In Italy, Edwin Soi and Gulnara Samitova Galkina of Russia took the honours at the end-of-year Boclassic Silvesterlauf Road Race in Bolzano last Wednesday in front of 10,000 spectators.

Soi scored his second consecutive win in the 10km road race in Bolzano crossing the finish-line in 28:55.

The Kenyan beat Sergiy Lebid (28:59), an eight-times European Cross Country champion and five-times Boclassic winner.

Olympic 3,000m steeplechase women’s champion Samitova Galkina (15:59) added her name to the prestigious list of past winners of the Boclassic with a solid win in the 5km women’s race.

Results Sao Paulo: Men - James Kwambai 44:42, Evans Cheruiyot 45:16, Kiprono Mutai 45:28, Marco Joseph (Tanzania) 45:37, William Naranjo (Colombia) 45:47, Nicholas Koech 45:52, Raimundo Nonato Sousa Aguiar (Brazil) 46:05, Eduardo Antonio da Silva (Brazil) 46:17. Women - Ayalew Yimer (Ethiopia) 51:37, Fabiana Cristine da Silva (Brazil) 52:28, Marily dos Santos (Brazil) 52:48, Edielza Alves dos Santos (Brazil) 53:02, Luzia de Souza Pinto (Brazil) 53:52, Cruz Monata da Silva (Brazil) 53:57, Priscah Jeptoo 53:58. Bolzano, Italy 10km men race - Edwin Soi 28:55, Sergiy Lebid (Ukraine) 28:59, Betona Sahle Warga (Ethiopia) 29:13, Jaouad Gharib (Morocco) 29:22, Stefano Baldini (Italy) 29:33, James Theuri (France) 29:44.Women 5km -Gulnara Samitova Galkina (Russia) 15:59, Aniko Kalovics (Hungary) 16:07, Sylvia Kibet 16:09, Sonja Roman (Slovenia) 16:19, Federica Dal Ri (Italy) 16:30, Agnes Tschurtschenthaler (Italy) 16:45.