African Championships: Kipkemoi, Cherono open Kenya’s gold rush in Benin

Jun 29, 2012
  • Lewis Mosoti, Mark Kiptoo and Kenneth Kipkemoi(far left), celebrate their 10000m sweep in Benin.( Photo:Yomi Omogbeja/AthleticsAfrica)

Euphoric chants of '1-2-3....’ ruled the air as Kenneth Kipkemoi led a Kenyan sweep of medals in the men’s 10 000m at the African Athletics Championships in commanding style in 27:19.74,a new games record at the Charles de Galle stadium in Porto Novo, Benin.

Gladys Cherono had earlier fired up the stadium as she led Veronicah Nyaruai to the gold and silver in the women’s 5000m, also in a new mark (15:40.04) on Thursday.

It was a fairly good day for Kenyan sprinters too with Vincent Mumo and Joyce Sakari storming the finals of the 400m from their respective semi finals.

Kipkemoi, Cherono win gold in games record

The Kenyans replicated their overriding performance from the 17th edition of the championships when they hosted the event in Nairobi that hoisted them to the top of the medal standings, with a gun to tape run as the Ethiopians fell off the pace.

With Moses Kipsiro out of the Ugandan team, the race was quickly whittled down to an Ethiopian/Kenyan affair- the first of many that could play out in the middle and long distance races here in Porto Novo, after the 'evergreen' Mark Kiptoo had taken the field through the opening 10000m in 2:48.06.

Then Kipkemoi, the Kenyan champion confidently sped past the half way mark in 13:39.83. He intermittently slipped back leaving Kiptoo, the 5000m bronze medallist from Nairobi, and Lewis Mosoti to pace the lead pack of five that had broken off barely half way through, that proved to be too much for Ethiopia’s Solomon Deksisa and Abraha Adihana, as they eventually pulled out leaving Tebalu Zawude, the insurmountable task of penetrating the charged Kenyans.

Kipkemoi led his teammates through a fast final lap of 26.20 as he charged away at the bell with Kiptoo and Mosoti in tow to the delight of the Kenyans at the centre stand of the scarcely filled stadium. His time was almost five seconds off compatriot’s William Sigei’s 1993 mark of 27:25.23. Kiptoo finished second for the silver in 27:20.7.

“I really wanted to win the African title like Wilson Kiprop in 2010 and I was ready to die for that Gold,”said Kipkemoi barely unable to hide his excitement after bagging his first major championship medal.

“I wish this was the qualifying race for the Olympics but the message is out I am the man to watch, Watch this space!” he warned.

Benin could however be one of the Kiptoo’s last track championship races as he ponders the big switch.

“I will have a discussion with the coaches to see whether I should continue racing here or whether am ready to go to the road, move up to the marathon,”Kiptoo said.

Unlike the men’s race, Nyaruai and Cherono opted for a more tactical race leaving it until late after the Ethiopian trio led by Wudessa Shitto raced the field through a devastatingly slow opening 2000m in 6:45.53.

Cherono then moved up the pack of the five leaders who had broken off from the eight starters, with Nyaruai hot on her heels as the Ethiopians fell off the pace.

The two went head to head for most of the race until the last 100m when Cherono sprinted home obliterating a 12-year Games record which stood at 15:43.46.

Nyaruai making a return to action after a three year break clocked 15:40.65 for the silver with Ethiopian Gebreslase Teklezgi 15:53.34 earning her bronze.

Mumo, Sakari lineup in 400m finals.

Kenya’s Vincent Mumo overcame a slow start as he finished strongly and qualify first from his heat in 46.39 ahead of Nigerian Abiols Onakoys 46.64.

Mark Mutai, the Commonwealth Games champion however struggled from his heat fading off to fifth from his heat in 47.35 won by Botswana’s Isaac Makwala(45.70) with South African double amputee Oscar Pistorious second in 46.14.

Joyce Sakari’s good run of form carried her into the final after an impressive second place finish in 52.36 behind Nigerian Georgina Grause(51.71). World champion Amantle Monthsho of Botswana is tipped to defend her title after an easy 51:25 qualification. Kenyan’s Grace Kidake and Catherine Nandi both failed to advance.

It was also a good day out in the field for the hurdlers with Christopher Ngetich(50.79) from heat one, Vincent Koskei(50.75) which ranked him second from the qualifying and Boniface Mucheru(50:51) who topped heat two making the 400m Hurdles.

London bound Anthony Chemut 1:46.78 will line up in the men’s 800m final which he qualified alongside Cornelius Kiplagat 1:47.92 after Mathieu Sawe failed to make it past his heat.

Ibrahim Muiya’s good run ended in the men’s semi final after clocking 10.54 as he just missed out on the final which was eventually won by South African Simon Magakwe 10.46. Millycent Ndoro (12.26) also missed out on the final with Gabonese sprint star Ruddy Milama dethroning the 2010 champion in 11.16.

Long Jumper Elijah Kimitei best leap of 7.47m ranked him sixth in the men’s final won by Senegalese Kaba Badji(8:04).

Selected results:

10000m men’s final

1.Kenneth Kipkemoi(KEN)  27:19.74 CR

2.Mark Kiptoo(KEN)   27:20.77

3.Lewis Mosoti(KEN) 27:22,54

4.Tebalu Zawude(ETH)  28:03.16


5000m women’s final

1.Gladys Cherono(KEN)  15:40.04 CR

2. Veronica Nyaruai(KEN) 15:40.65

3.Teklezgi Gebreslase(ETH)  15.53.34


 Evelyn Watta in Porto Novo, Benin

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