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Another gold as Masai kin beats world

Wednesday July 21 2010

By CHRIS MUSUMBA and IAAF, [email protected]

It is no joke to assume the 10,000m race belongs to the Masai sibling. First was Moses, who claimed a bronze medal in Berlin World Championship before his sister Linet went a step further to win gold in the same event.

The two might have left rivals Ethiopia with sleepless nights, but their dominance is just taking shape. Another Masai is menacingly positioning to claim his rightful place in the family.

Meet Dennis Chepkongin Masai, the brand new World Junior 10,000m champion.

Masai has proved to be a chip off the old block as he chalked up the race in Moncton, Canada, on Tuesday night to secure Kenya’s second gold after Mercy Cherono had won the 3,000m title on Monday.

Help from his colleague

With more than a little help from his colleague Paul Lonyangata, Masai became the seventh Kenyan winner of the 10,000m title in the event. Gebretsadik Abraha of Ethiopia clinched silver while Lonyangata was third.

Masai’s winning time of 27:53.88 – a world leading mark for the year and a personal best by over 32 seconds – was the result of a highly competitive race as he defeated Abraha and Lonyangata, who also recorded lifetime fastest marks of 28:03.45 and 28:14.55.

The race really took off when Masai hit the front after 2200m and followed by Lonyangata they quickly reduced the field to a pack of six.

The pair eventually wore down all but Abraha between 4km and 5km. Lonyangata, who preceded Masai as world leader, started feeling the pace approaching 8km.

Given me morale

Acknowledging the assistance of Lonyangata, Masai said: “I’m very happy being number one in the world. You know, my partner, he had a stitch. What we were planning was not going well - we were running as a team.

Now, I’m preparing for the Commonwealth Games. I’m very happy – of course! It has given me morale. You have to be happy!”
Abraha said: “The race was very competitive.

Because I was alone with the two Kenyans, I couldn’t do any better. There was also some pushing, but I did my best and I thank God.

“Once three of us remained, I knew I was running for second place, especially when I got stitches with six laps to go. They were trying to drop me and second place is a great honour for me.”

In a surprise fourth place was Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed, in 29:11.75.

and began to fall backwards, his demise seeing Abraha immediately trying to pull clear and become the fifth Ethiopian winner of the title.

But it lasted for less than 300m when Masai put in another awesome burst of speed which opened a five metres gap which quickly became 10 and by 8600m saw him establish a healthy lead which he maintained to the finish.

Masai acknowledging the assistance of Lonyangata, said: “I’m so happy being number one in the world. You know, my partner, he had a stitch. What we were planning was not going well - we were running as a team.

“Now, I’m preparing for the Commonwealth Games. I’m so happy – of course! It has given me morale. You have to be happy!”
Abraha said: “The race was very competitive. Because I was alone with the two Kenyans, I couldn’t do any better.

There was also some pushing, but I did my best and I thank God.
“Once three of us remained, I knew I was running for second place, especially when I got stitches with six laps to go.

They were trying to drop me and second place is a great honour for me.”
In surprising fourth-place was Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed, in 29:11.75.

Ahmed, who with New Zealand’s Aaron Pulford (fifth 29:14.23, a New Zealand junior record) had led the chase pack after Masai broke the race open, had patiently reeled in all those unable to hang on to the race in front.

Though outside the medals by almost a minute, Ahmed was welcomed home a hero by the Canadian crowd.

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