Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo will not defend her Africa title after pulling out of the final of her race during National Athletics championships at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.
Jelimo, whose rise to international stardom started at the last Africa championships in Addis Ababa last year, dropped out after 300m with a suspected ankle injury leaving her rival Janeth Jepkosgei to win in 1:58.95. Former world junior champion Winnie Chebet took the second automatic slot in 2:00.88.
The men’s champion over the same distance David Rudisha and Richard Mateelong (3,000m stepplechase) moved a step closer to defending their titles with victory in their respective races as Kenya selected the national team for the Senior Africa Athletics Championship.
Rudisha, who holds the world fastest time this season of 1:42.04 run in Oslo early this month, literally walked through the two laps and still returned a fast time of 1:44.23 to beat World and Olympic bronze medallist Alfred Kirwa Yego to second in 1:45.50 while Jackson Kivuva of the Armed Forces was third in 1:45.75.
He said he could have run faster had he got a strong competition now that he has settled on consistent results under the 1:42 time.
Perennial silver medallist
“I eye to challenge Wilson Kipketer’s record one day. But I am happy to have made the Kenya team today and now I will head to Europe to run two races and hope to improve on my personal best,” he said.
Mateelong, the perennial silver medallist over the water and hurdle event at the global level, is eying to retain his 3,000m steeplechase title at home and showed his form in winning easily in his speciality. Only World Junior 3,000m champion Jonathan Muia Ndiku, currently based in Japan, was able to challenge him.
With World champion Ezekiel Kemboi having pulled out after he accidently hit his leg on the hammer and Olympic Champion Brimin Kipruto giving the event a bye to focus on the commonwealth games, Mateelong was virtually unchallenged.
He crossed the finish line in 8:15.69 with Ndiku coming in after 8:19.25 to beat the 2002 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Abraham Cherono to third in 8:21.15.