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Kenya's Ekiru makes history at African Games

Friday August 30 2019

Titus Ekiru celebrates with the Kenyan flag at the finish line of the Honolulu Marathon after winning the men's race on December 9, 2018. PHOTO | ELIAS MAKORI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Titus Ekiru celebrates with the Kenyan flag at the finish line of the Honolulu Marathon after winning the men's race on December 9, 2018. PHOTO | ELIAS MAKORI | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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The 2019 Milano Marathon champion Titus Ekiru made history as the first Kenyan to win the half marathon trace at the African Games on Friday in Rabat, Morocco.

Ekiru, the 2018 Mexico City and Honolulu Marathon winner, clocked 1 hour, 01 minutes and 42 seconds to clinch gold after waylaying the Moroccan challenge of Reda Elaaraby and Hamza Sahli respectively.

Elaaraby and Sahli came home 62 seconds later in 1:02:44 and 1:02:45 respectively denying Kenyans Morris Munene (1:02:51) and Panuel Mkungo (1:03:10) a podium place.

The best performance for Kenya before Ekiru struck gold was silver medals by Kenneth Kipkemboi in 2011 (Maputo) and Luka Kanda in 2015 (Brazzaville).

The Games adapted the half marathon race in 2003 from the full marathon (42) that had featured since the second edition in 1973.

Ekiru’s victory came moments after his compatriots failed the test in the women’s race and Ethiopians dominated once again, sweeping all the podium places.

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Hellen Jepkurgat clocked 1:12:29, while Grace Kimanzi timed 1:13:16 to finish fourth and fifth respectively in a race won by Yehualaw Yalemzerf in 1:10:26 with compatriots Degitu Azimeraw and Meseret Belete returning 1:10:31 and 1:12:08 for silver and bronze respectively.

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