Gathimba Retains 1,500m Title In Rio

Jul 24, 2021

Gideon Gathimba had one mission when he boarded the plane to Rio de Jeneiro Brazil for the fifth World Military championship, retain the 1,500m title. He did it in style by beating a strong field of African athletes who occupied the top three places. 

Afterwards, Gathimba said: "I came here to defend the title I had won at the last World Military Games in Hyderabad-2007. I achieved my goal and I am doubly happy for this championship." Well, who can begrudge the champion who clocked 3:40.62 minutes ahead of Morocco’s Mostaoui Mohamed who returned 3:41.04 and Algeria’s Imad Taouil who was timed at 3:41,24 for the silver and bronze.

Kenya’s debacle in the 3,000m steeplechase and women’s 5,000m inspired the men’s 5,000m tduo of Mark Kiptoo and Vincent Kiprop who clinched gold and silver in a race which the top five finishers raced inside the championship record of Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer (13:19.87) set in Italy in 2007. Kiptoo led the pack to breast the tape at 13:06.17 for a new championship record. Kiprop was a close second on 13:06.31. Bilisuma Gelassa (Bahrain) 13:06.73, Hussain Alhamdah (Saudi Arabia) 13:12.17 and Rabah Aboud (Algeria) 13:19.00 completed the top five.

In what was another good day for Kenya on the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium track, the Kenya quartet of Kipkemboi Soi. Jonothan Kibet, Geoffrey Matum and Mark Mutai raced to a silver medal in the 4x400m relay clocking 3:07.87 behind Poland’s Piotor Klimc, Daniel Dabrowski, Kacper Kozlowski and Marcin Maraciniszyn who stopped the clock at 3:04.55. India got the bronze ahead of Algeria who finished fourth.

Kenya’s good show on the track was reflected on the medal standing where the East African nation was placed eighth overall with one day left. Hosts Brazil led with China, Italy, Poland and South Korea completing the top five.

But, Kenya’s prowess on the track was not complemented on the mat by the Tae Kwon Do and Judo players who all bowed out in the first round. In Tae Kwon Do Joseph Njehia was beaten 9-3 by South Korea’s Kyung Hoo Cho in the under 68kg category, Samuel Kinyanjui was knocked out 17-5 by Kleiber Olaizola of Venezuela in the under-54kg category. On Thursday, Allan Mwambala bowed out to Cote d’Ivoire’s Martin Madou Tape in the under-74kg category. 

Success also eluded Kenyan’s in Judo. Jotham Sewe lost to Germany’s Rene Schneider in the quarter final of the 73kg, John Kirimi was beaten by Maximilian Schirnhofer (Austraia) in the 90kg category and Joshua Omondi lost to Kuwait’s Abdulaziz Kaldani in the 81kg category. Omondi Kirimi was also unsuccessful in the repechage losing to Turkey’s Sahin Tursak while Kirimi was beaten by USA’s Robert Turnquest. Albert Kombo fell to China’s Zhang Kai in the pre-quarter finals of the 100kg category. Alice Chebet lost to Marie Moulin of France in the 78kg category.   

Eric Odanga

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