• Kenyans Sparkle at the AAG Climax

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Sep 16, 2011-

The scattered crowd's attention was firmly glued on the tantalising race that was unfolding on track as Kenya cruised to their first sweep of the two medals at the games in the women's 1500m with very few following the on the field proceedings more so when Julius Yego prepared for his final Javelin throw….

As gold medalist Irene Jelagat and silver star Joyce Chepkirui frantically searched for a Kenyan flag for the victory lap of honour, Yego was already revving it up in the middle of the National stadium in Maputo, celebrating his gold medal after a brilliant throw of 78.34m in his first attempt.

Typical of his lone training sessions -devoid of a partner, a coach and requisite facilities he solely relished his historical feat,apart from the random congratulatory pats from his opponents who like him were shocked by his rare triumph. "I can't believe this!' he exclaimed.

"It's been one of the most difficult seasons for me as I was in and out of the camp," said the Kenya Policeman as he recounted his troubled training sessions at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani-Nairobi.

He was among those initially dropped from the Athletics squad to give room to the middle and long distance runners who have predominantly earned the country most of athletics medals.

"I broke my javelin during training. I was using it as a marker and I think the throw was so powerful it just broke so I was forced to use the one they provided at the stadium."

The African bronze medalist's throw on Thursday was way above his season best of 73.63m and a great improvement from his 2010 throw of 74.57m that earned him third place at the African Championships in Nairobi.

"I remember when I got here(Maputo)a Nigerian coach was who taking his javelin throwers on the field was impressed with my techniques and could not believe that I didn't have a coach as he shared one or two tips,"said the 24 year old.

"He was shocked when I told him how I learn my techniques from watching Youtube on my phone of the best throwers and reading on google.com,"he added with a chuckle. South African Bernard Crous's first round throw of 72.68m earned him the silver medal while Friday Osanyade fourth attempt of 71.01m won him the Bronze.

Reigning African Champion Ehad Abdelrahman of Egypt finished fifth with a throw of 69.94m behind South African Hardus Pienaar(70.46m). Yego's gold was one of the four Kenyans won on the last day of a challenging track and field competition in Maputo.

"Now I begin the long and hard journey of qualifying for the olympics so I now I shift my target to the 80 mark."

Jelegat and injured Ndiku lead sweep in 1500m

Jelegat held off a late Ethiopian charge as she crossed the line in 4:13.67 after leading the field from the star ina sterling at the climax of the All Africa Games.

Chepkirui snatched the silver in 4:13.71 ahead of Ethiopian trio of Tezita Ashame(4:14.41), Meskerem Wondime(4:14.76) and Bertukan Germam(4:17.01) who finished fourth,fifth and sixth respectively. Kenyan Ann Karindi placed sixth in 4:18.76.

An injured Caleb Ndiku Mwangangi nursing a heavily bandaged hamstring raced to victory in the men's race in 3:39.12 for his first major trophy as a senior. Ndiku led from the front and charged home ahead of teammate Collins Cheboi who clocked 3:39.72 and Algerian Taoufik Makihoufi,the 800m Games champion was third in 3:39.99.

"I ran like a possessed man...I put the pain behind as I badly wanted us to win the gold,"said Ndiku as relished his golden finish.

Men Scoop Gold and women bronze in 4x400m

Commonwealth Games Champion Mark Mutai ensured Kenya's national anthem was the last played at the Mozambican stadium after a fantastic sprint in the last leg of the men's 4 by 400m.

Mutai a bronze medalist in the 400m race zoomed past the Nigerian and Botswana team at 200m mark as he sped off to the finish line in 3:03.10.Nigeria won the silver in 3:05.26 with Botswana settling for Bronze in 3:05.92.

The women's team won bronze in 3:37.37 behind winners Nigerian(3:31.21) and Senegal (3:32.21).

Kipsiro bounces back with 5000m Gold

Ugandan Moses Kipsiro who has been plagued by ill health for most of the season that even locked him out of the World championships in Korea firmly won the men's 5000m as he cruised past Ethiopian duo of Yenew Getahun and Abayneh Woldegeo and Kenyan Vincent Yator in the last 50m.

Yator who had led for most of the race had the lead until the last bend when he slowly faded off and struggled to keep up with the Ethiopian late charge. He got himself boxed as Kipsiro charged home with Getahun(13:43.33) and Woldegeo ((13:43.51) hot on his heels.Woldegeo beat Yator to the bronze in a sprint finish with the Kenyan clocking 13:43.52.

African champion Maureen Jelagat finished fourth in the women's 400m Hurdles in 57.49 won by Nigerian Ajoke Odumosun(56.26).


Evelyn Watta in Maputo

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