London winner Sumgong medals as KDF meet closes
Jemimah Sumgong dusted herself from her epic London Marathon victory last Sunday to hang on for the bronze in the women 10000m race as the 37th Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) track and field meet closed in Nairobi on Friday.
Olympics bronze medallist, Timothy Kitum (1:44.51) was stunned to third in the men 800m final in a showdown won by rising Nicholas Kiplangat (1:43.37) as Jonathan Kitilit (1:43.48) in a fast medal race in the punishing elevation of Nairobi.
The corresponding women’s race also returned a surprise when Sela Jepleting raced 2:02.3 for the top honours ahead of former World Youth silver winner and pre-race bet, Winnie Chebet (2:02.9) in a furious battle on the homestretch as Reginah Mwangi (2:03.4) followed the pair for bronze.
London 2012 steeplechase bronze medallist, Abel Mutai, Sheila Chepkirui, James Magut, Alphas Kishoiyan, Nicholas Kiplangat and Mike Mokamba were other favourites who underlined their status by running to the honours at Safaricom Stadium.
Moi Airbase runner Sumgong, who won her first World Marathon Majors race when she clocked 2:22:58 for London glory took the third medal in 35:55.2 in a race where Africa Cross silver winner, Chepkirui unleashed a strong finish to take the title in 33:48.8.
Joycline Chepkosgei (35:53.2) took silver.
“Today’s race was so tough since its very different compared to the marathon which I’m used to. I can say I tried my best.
“I am still recovering, because my body is still tired and I will not participate in the National Championships. I would like to give that space to someone else so that she can also get a chance to go to Rio,” Sumgong who ran to honour her KDF colleagues after they mounted a heroic welcome for her earlier in the week stated.
“I never believed I will win this race since I was running with very strong athletes including Jemimah Sumgong and Veronica Nyaruai.I tensed in the first five laps but later motivated myself.
“My finishing speed helped me a lot and that is when I overcame Jemimah,” the winner added.
Mutai who launched his career by winning gold at the 2005 World Youth retained his water and barriers title when he stopped the clock at 8:27.90 well clear of Pheneas Kipletting (8:28.49) and Hillary Kemboi (8:32.89) who took the minor medals.
Magut, the 2008 World Youth silver medallist collected his fifth Forces men 1500m title in 3:44.4 after holding off the fast finishing Vincent Letting who was two-hundredth of a second in arrears as Cornelius Kiplangat led the challengers home in 3:45.5 for bronze.
“I’m doing well so far. A great job awaits me in the National Championships and I promise myself something good,” the joyful Magut said after holding on to his title.
In the men’s lap race, Kishoiyan blasted to 45.23 to hold on to his Forces 400m crown well clear of Joseph Poghisio (46.32) and Stephen Arita (46.52).
He then lost his face-off with Mokamba in the long-dash when the champion retained his 200m title in 20.49 against Kishoiyan’s 20.91 as Gilbert Osure (21.19) followed the favourites across the line for the third medal.
Mary Tanui took the women’s race in 24.01 ahead of Catherine Nandi (25.26) and Anastacia Kanini (25.51) went for the first, second and third positions in the 200m women race.
“I am doing all this to pick shape. My main focus is 400m in both National championships and Rio Olympics,” Kishoiyan, a former World Youth silver medallist, declared.
Mokamba then clinched the sprint double when he won the 100m in 10.27 in the last individual final of the meet with Osure (10.63) and Charles Wamwea (10.67) taking silver and bronze.
Anne Karanja is the Forces women 100m after she won the race on a split decision from Sabina Mukoswa with both timed at 12.52 as Catherine Nandi (12.56).
Thika based Silas Rutto (13:29.6), a 2:17:05 marathon PB won the men’s 5000m title to deny Emmanuel Kipsang (13:33.7) who won the 10000m crown on the opening day the distance double as Stephen Arita (13:39:7) finished third.
William Mbevi (49.74) took the gold in the 400m Hurdles with Ken Kirui (52.12) and Julius Rotich (53.09) filling the podium in second and third.
The Kenya Prisons Service meeting next week will be the next centre of attention as preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics hit high gear.
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