• Jepkosgei’s Bronze Wraps Up Kenya’s Medal Haul in Daegu

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Sep 04, 2011-

Janeth Jepkogsei wrapped up Kenya's triumphant hunt for medals on the Daegu tracks,with a bronze in one of the best ever assembled 800m women’s field at the World championships.

Russian Mariya Savinova out paced South African Caster Semenya for the gold medal as she crossed the finish line in 1:55.87, the fastest time in the world this year. Jepkosgei knew her only chance to keep up with the fast field was by speeding up the race which she did in the first 400m (55.5) with Jamaican Kenia Sinclair closely behind.

Semenya, the winner two years ago took over the lead from her fellow African with about 300m to go and looked well positioned for the her second gold in the event. But she could not match the European champion's dash in the last 50m as she made up for her fifth place in Berlin.

"Even though I got silver, I really enjoyed it,better than two years ago," said Semenya whose win two years ago was riddled with controversy surrounding her gender tests. "I know I won gold in Berlin, but am feeling much better today."

Jepkosgei was equally pleased to have made it to the podium in a season’s best of 1:57.82. "At least I am going home with something on my neck for the year, it is a great feeling because so many ladies tried to achieve this,"said the Kenyan Assistant team captain.

"I am happy for our result and the good achievements with so many medals." Kenya had an amazing championships, its best performance ever at the Worlds with Seven Gold, Six silver and Four Bronze that put them third behind track and field giants USA (12 Gold, 8 Silver,5 Bronze) and Russia(9 Gold,4 Silver and 6 Bronze).

Kenya however missed out in the medal brackets in the 5000m as Isaiah Koech ranked seventh in an exciting race won by British Mohammed Farah in spectacular fashion as he held off a late charge from Kenyan-born American Bernard Lagat to stop the clock at 13:23.36.

Koech was the early pacer before Abera Kuma took over as the runners reached the 2000m in 5:35.6,all this time the pre-race favourites choose to stay at the back of the pack. The crowded field became messy as Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa was felled with about 600m to go but he quickly got up and caught up with the other runners.

The turning point in the race came in the final lap as Farah kicked to the front with Lagat who was running on the inside lane unable to catch up only managing to zoom past Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel who settled for Bronze in 13:23.92.

"The race came down to a sprint finish and I am glad I took it. When you come so close to gold, you do everything you can,"said the British born of Somali descent who won silver in the 10000m. Lagat said:

"I tried to put myself into a good position for the long kick but I kind of got blocked. When I got out it was too late to get ahead."

Koech finished fourth in 13:24.95 with Abera fifth(13:25.50)with Longosiwa sixth finishing an impressive sixth in 13:26.73. "If it wasn't for the fall I would have won a medal as I was in a strong position to kick and sprint,"said Longosiwa nursing a deep bruise on his left knee.

Eliud Kipchoge ended another round of elusive search for a championship medal after his victory in 2003 in a disappointing seventh position in 13:27.27.

"This is my worst championship ever as I have never finished below the top four. It was a tensed race so the worst just happened, but ill be back at the Olympics."

After nine days of competition the championship came to a close on a high with Jamaican Usain Bolt speeding off to the only World record in Daegu in the men's 4 by 100m relay of 37.04.

The triumphant Kenyan team are expected back in Nairobi on Tuesday devoid of some of its medalists who head off to Europe to chase points in the Samsung Diamond league races.



 Evelyn Watta in Daegu

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