Manangoi has golden London dream after Monaco DL triumph


Winner Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi (R) celebrates with second-placed Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot (L) after the ...
Winner Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi (R) celebrates with second-placed Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot (L) after the men's 1500m event at the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting in Monaco on July 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHE

Elijah Managoi brought his London dreams to closer focus as the World 1,500m silver medallist raced to glory at the IAAF Monaco Diamond League on Friday.

Managoi set a meeting record and a world leading (WL) time of 3:28.80 in his specialty as he led his Kenyan compatriots to a 1-2-3 finish on a night that saw Rio 5,000m silver medalist Hellen Obiri and Emmanuel Korir also post hugely impressive performancesahead of next month’s IAAF World Championships in London.

Timothy Cheruiyot from whom training partner Manangoi reclaimed the WL opped the timer at 3:29.10 for second place while Ronald Kwemoi clocked 3:32.34 for third place.

“After PB of 3:34.63 in 2015 here I got silver in Beijing, now I won here so the only goal for London could be gold. I’m going for it, slow or fast, I do not care, I’m in pretty good shape. I trained well and we are team mates in one group with Cheruiyot so I was pretty sure I will beat him in the last 100 m. Monaco is the best track for 1500 m,” said Managoi.

Manangoi and Cheruiyot started the race off at a comfortable pace just behind the pace makers as the three time World Champion Asbel Kiprop sat in the middle of thd chasing pack.

The duo opened a little gap after the second lap which Kiprop tried to close but after the bell went off, the race was clearly between Cheruiyot who was leading as Mangangoi chased him.

With 200m to go, Managoi attacked from the outside lane to earn eight points for first place to enable him compete at Zurich Diamond League in August 24 after the World Championships.

Obiri set a world best performance of 8:23.14 in the women’s 3000m race pushing eight other athletes into improveing their personal bests (PB).

Her compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech who will be representing Kenya at the 3000m steeplechase event in London set a PB of 8:28.66 for second place. Laura Muir of Great Britain settled for third place in 8:30.64 (also a PB).

“Even though I didn’t break the meet record, I did a World Lead, and I think I ran pretty fast today so it was great! In London, I’ll be doing the 5000m and now I’m going back to Kenya to train,” Obiri said.

Emmanuel Korir also had a motivating performance in the non Diamond League race where he set a world leading time of 1:43.12. Korir took charge of the race in the second lap as Canadian Bradon McBride (1:44.41) and Burundian Antoine Gakeme (1:44.54) desperately chased him but settled for the first and second runners up positions.

“I wanted to run faster, I was thinking about 1:42, but could not work well with the pacemaker. Of course it is a great debut in Diamond League for me. You know I was a 400 m runner, started in 2014 in high school back in Kenya and I’m running only for first year the 800 m. In London I want to be the best, Im gonna win,” Korir said.

It’s back to the drawing board for Rio silver medallist and World javelin Champion Julius Yego and Rio 800m bronze medalist Magret Nyairera after disappointing performances in their events.

Yego had only two valid throws of 74.43m and 79.36m. While Nyairera who had a good start in the women’s 800m alongside Olympic champion Caster Semenya ( WL1:55.27) and Burundi’s Rio silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba (1:55.47) faded off to last place stopping the timer at 2:02.13.

Rio silver medalist Evan Jager of America challenged Kenyan 3000m steeplechase athletes after setting a WL of 8:01.29.

Jager made his maiden victory about six seconds ahead of Commonwealth Games silver medalist Jairus Birech (8:06.68) and Kenyan born American Stanley Kipkoech Kebenei (8:08.30).

“The race was not bad. Losing to USA is not usual but it’s sport, everyone can win and it’s good. I still do a season best and now will go back to Kenya to train for the worlds,” said Birech.

Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto who has a season best of 8:04.63 did not compete at the meeting after taking a precautionary measure due to his ankle injury but promised that he will be at the English capital.

-Material from Monaco.diamondleague.com was used to compile this report.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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