Chepkurui bags Kenya’s first gold in Durban

Stephen MOKOKA won the 10000m final by clocking 28:02.97 followed by Kenya’s Wilfried Kimitei (28:.3.18) and ...
Stephen MOKOKA won the 10000m final by clocking 28:02.97 followed by Kenya’s Wilfried Kimitei (28:.3.18) and Namakwe Nkhasi from Lesotho (28:06.3). PHOTO/CAA

Sheila Chepkurui struck the country’s first gold at the 20th CAA Senior Championships in Durban, South Africa in the women 5000m on Thursday as Margaret Chelimo sealed the Kenyan 1-2.

It was the country’s third medal at the biennial continental showpiece after Wilfred Kimitei opened the account with silver over 10,000m during the opening day on Wednesday, taking to the track barely 24 hours after the team landed in South Africa.

Chepkurui, 25, the Africa Cross senior women silver winner moved to the middle step of the podium after clinching the title in 15:05.45 when she edged the battle for the finish over the final straight.

All Africa Games gold winner, Chelimo took second in 15:07.56 as Ethiopia’s Dera Yamo closed the podium.

“We were prepared from the start. We had trained well for championship and the presence of our rivals (Ethiopia) did not worry us. This is an encouragement to our team,” said Chepkirui in a post-race interview.

On the opening day, Kimitei was denied the top medal by home runner and two-time Shanghai Marathon champion, Stephen Mukoka with the clocks returning 28:02.97 against 28:03.18 while Lesotho’s Namakwe Nkhasi settled for bronze in 28:06.33.

Elsewhere, 800m World Indoor bronze medallist and junior world champion, Margaret Nyairera secured her slot in the Friday women 400m final after running the fastest time in the semis of 51.97 as countrywoman and national champion, Maureen Thomas crashed out.

Kenya also has a chance of medalling at the men 400m Hurdles finals when the trio of Beijing Worlds fifth finisher, Boniface Mucheru, Aron Koech and Kiprono Koskei made it to the decider.

Alphas Kishoyan, the former World Youth silver and Youth Olympics bronze winner and team skipper, Raymond Kibet also punched their tickets to the 400m final as compatriot Stanley Kieti.

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