Alice Aprot in Durban wonderland, Sawe hailed
Africa Cross and All Africa Games champion, Alice Aprot added the continental senior women 10000m crown to her expanding trophy cabinet when she majestically led a Kenyan sweep on Saturday to push the country’s gold count to four.
The 22 year-old younger sister to 2010 World Cross champion, Joseph Ebuya, is shaping up to be her nation’s brightest prospect at the distance and was a cut above Jackline Chepng’eno and Joyline Jepkosgei who could take pride in having the chance to stand to her right and left when the Kenyan anthem is sang to honour her latest gold.
Aprot, who also won the bronze in 5000m at last year’s Pan African Games in Brazzaville, easily motored away from her rivals after the race was turned into an internal contest by the Kenyans on the business end of the 25-laps contest to stop the clock, arms aloft, in 30:26.94.
Chepng’eno bought enough distance to take silver in 31:27.73 as Jepkosgei, the 2009 World Cross junior bronze medallist, settled completed Kenya’s first podium shut out of the 20th CAA Senior Championships in Durban, South Africa in 31:28.28.
The feared nation of the famed red, green and black strip advanced their medal haul to 11 at the end of the fourth day of action at King Park Stadium with four gold, four silver and three bronze.
Aprot’s latest triumph came as the country continued to buzz around the first ever gold in the men High jump wrought by Matthew Sawe on Friday.
Former world marathon record holder and two-time Olympics 10000m silver medallist, Paul Tergat, led the chorus of congratulatory messages from the athletics fraternity that hailed the remarkable achievement on the field.
“It’s history for our country and shows diversification out of our usual track events. He joins the likes of Yego in field events!” Tergat, an International Olympics Committee Member and five-time World Cross Country champion exclaimed in delight.
Other luminaries who paid homage to the national record holder included two-time London Marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge and Javelin men world champion, Julius Yego.
“Sawe’s victory is truly miraculous and the word acknowledgement doesn’t begin to do justice, so I send my deepest appreciation to him, well done and congratulations,” Kipchoge who is preparing to battle for Olympics marathon gold said.
“Thanks that’s a show!! Field events and sprints are rewarding Kenya! Congrats to Mathew Sawe and Mucheru for their splendid performance!” Yego, who is also on Rio Olympics duty, added.
In other events on the penultimate day, medal hopes in the men and women 200m were lost after Peter Mwai clocked 21.18 and Gilbert Otieno timed 21.52 for fourth and seventh finishes in the penultimate day.
There was no luck in the corresponding women’s race when the trio of Eunice Kadogo, Mary Chepkoech and Millicent Ndoro crashed out.
The biennial continental track and field event closes on Sunday with the medal chase reaching its climax.
Rabat Diamond League meeting winner, Timothy Cheruiyot is out for a morale boosting victory in the men 1500m decider after running the quickest semi of 3:44.44 with Vincent Letting who did 3:47.43 also in with a go for the medals.
In the 400m Hurdles hopeful Maureen Jelagat secured a position in the finals after clocking 57.63 in the second semi alongside Jane Chege who finished third in 59.44 in the other. Jelagat will hope to emulate Mucheru who took the men’s title on Friday for the double.
Sylvia Chesebe, the 2011 All-African Games bronze medallist is out to move up the podium likely in a contest for the silver in the women 800m final since she is against the force that is home favourite, Caster Semenya who has already bagged the 1500m crown with another Kenyan, Emily Rotich also featurin.
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