• Kirui bags second World marathon Gold

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Sep 04, 2011-

Abel Kirui produced a classy road run combining mental and physical prowess to clinch the marathon gold with the biggest margin in World Championship history.
He successsully retained his title repeating the Berlin domination and becoming the third man to retain a marathon world championship. His team mate Vincent Kipruto bagged the silver on Sunday in Daegu.
It was an exceptional performance that saw Kirui breakaway at the 20km point as he paced away in impressive split times in the 5km, the fastest between the 25-30km of 14:18,for his second consecutive title after his championship record race in Berlin of 2:06.54.

"I pushed the pace from 20km and that is what gave me the gold medal as I had saved my energy for this championship."

Kipruto took the silver way behind Kirui in 2:10.06 as Ethiopian Feyisa Lelisa at 21 became the youngest medalist as he powered home to win the bronze in a season best of 2:10.32

" I was not surprised when Kirui started to speed up earlier in the race. I tried to increase the pace progressively and I left Lilesa behind me,"said Kipruto third in Rotterdam last year. The marathon ran under relatively cool conditions started off rather slowly as the leading pack of about 20 runners reaching the first 5km mark of the looped course in 15:58 and the 10km in 31:21.

Vincent Kipruto had the head-start of a crowded field largely dominated by his teammates as well as other African runners from Uganda at the 15km point , Ethiopia, eritrea and Morocco.

As the field approached the halfway point Kirui surged ahead looking to pick up the speed as they crossed the 21km mark on 1:05.07 with Kenyans David Tumo, Kipruto and Eliud Kiptanui hot on his heels.

The swift change in pace muddled up the leading pack as they slowly disintegrated into single files as Kirui made clear his intent to retain his title. Unlike in Berlin two years ago, when he made his break with about 2km to go,Kirui made his move much earlier and it worked out perfectly for him as some of his teammates struggled to keep up. Kiptoo,the Paris marathon champion who had earlier looked poised for a medal was among those who could not keep up.

"Today I was not shape, the body just refused to perform so I dropped out."
With the clock at 2:00.38 at the 40km point, its was evident that the 29 year old would set one of the fastest times in the championships history,with Kipruto and Lilesa about seven seconds off the pace locked in a race of their own for the silver spot.

Kirui proved his mettle as the late entrant to the Kenyan marathon team with a powerful finish,swaying away to cerebrate his emphatic triumph, the biggest margins ever in the history of the championships and the second fastest ever.

" It was an emotional moment for me coming here and defending my title the only way I could express what I was feeling was through a dance,"said the cheerful father of two. It was a race that he had planned and replayed over and over as was evident in the last half of the marathon.

"When you have strong competitors you don't only rely on your legs but you also race with the mind.Which I did today,"said the world champion.

Ibrahim Hussein,the technical leader of the Kenyan team a one time Boston marathon champion singled out Kirui's strength and power, which also influenced the team selectors to include him in the marathon squad after initially omitting him from the provisional list.

"You could tell during the team briefing last night(Saturday) that he was focussed and well prepared for the event to win the Gold." "All long in the race I wanted to show that it was right to have me in the team,"said the Kenya Police Sergeant who failed to finish the London marathon in April proving that he is a championships runner.

"I think the looped course works well for me because even in Berlin it was a looped course…its better than running in a straight course which can tire the mind and can be boring." He is hoping that his second world title will give him a head start when it comes to the selection of the London 2012 Olympics team.

"I wished I was racing with Wanjiru(the late Samuel) today it would have been a good race but now I hope I can go and take over the work from where he left at the Olympics."

Tumo (2:11.39) and Kiptanui (2:11.50) finished in fifth and sixth positions respectively behind Moroccan Abderrahime Bouramdane as Kenya retained the overall team title ahead of Japan and Morocco.
Evelyn Watta in Daegu
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