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Gathimba, Wanjiru seal Commonwealth Games tickets

Saturday February 17 2018

Samuel Gathimba (right) leads Samuel Wachira in the men's 20km race walk final during the Commonwealth Games trials on February 17, 2018 at Moi International sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Samuel Gathimba (right) leads Samuel Wachira in the men's 20km race walk final during the Commonwealth Games trials on February 17, 2018 at Moi International sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Samuel Gathimba shattered his own national record by 20 seconds to win the men's 20km race walk and earn a slot in Team Kenya for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Saturday morning at Kasarani.

After a thrilling exchange of leads with Simon Wachira from the 15km mark, Gathimba stepped on his gas pedal with 500m to go to win in 1 hour, 19 minutes and 04 seconds.

Gathimba's feat saw him erase his previous national record of 1:19:24 set during the 2016 Africa Championships in Durban, South Africa.

It is the Durban show that catapulted him to his maiden 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2017 London World Championships.

Gathimba qualified alongside Wachira, who finished second also in a personal best of 1:19:06.

Peter Theuri and World Under-18 10km race walk bronze medal Samson Ndigiti clocked 1:25:02 and 1:29:42 to finish third and fourth respectively but failed to make it to the "Club" Games due April 4-15 in Australia.

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"I am happy that Wachira has improved after he pushed me to the limit. He actually gave in the last 500m and that is why I have been able to break the national record," said Gathimba, who finished 32nd at the World Championships in London last year.

EASY FOR WANJIRU

The six-time Africa champion Grace Wanjiru won her 20km race walk to make it to her third Commonwealth Games alongside Linda Murugi.

Wanjiru, who represented Kenya at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 London World Championships, clocked 1:38:22, beating Murugi to second place in 1:42:13.

Wanjiru will be heading to her third "Club" Games after the 2010 Delhi and 2014 Glasgow Games while Murugi, will be making her debut at the games.

However, it will be the second time she is representing Kenya after finishing fifth at the 2016 Africa Championships in Durban where Wanjiru sealed her sixth consecutive crown.

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