By AYUMBA AYODI
Kenya has won 13 titles from the last 18 editions of men’s 3,000m Steeplechase events at the Africa Championships.
The country’s record over the distance has been flawless since 2002 Tunis when Brahim Boulami from Morocco relegated Wilson Boit Kipketer and Stephen Cherono to silver and bronze.
Since then, Kenyans have won the last five five editions of the championships that include the 2010 Nairobi Championships where they swept the podium and a 1-2 feat at the 2012 Port Novo.
The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Abel Mutai and Wilson Kipkemboi upheld what Kip Rono started in the inaugural 1979 Dakar with a 1-2 show in Port Novo. It goes without saying that Kenya is still hot favourite to make it sixth in a row Tuesday.
What with Olympic and World champion Ezekiel Kemboi, the new Commonwealth Games champion Jonathan Muia and the 2014 Diamond League Series leader Jairus Birech in the team.
Muia, who won gold at the 2008 Bydgoszcz and 2010 Moncton World Junior Championships, set the Hampden Park Arena alight when he dominated to set a new championships record of 8:10.44 during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Birech (8:12.68) and Ezekiel Kemboi (8:19.73) settled for silver and bronze respectively. Kemboi, who has two Olympic titles, three World titles and one Commonwealth titles, is yet to don an Africa title, having won silver at the 2010 Nairobi. He finished second at the 2006 Mauritius but was disqualified.
“We can still stage similar exploits in Marrakech but only if we embrace teamwork the way we did at Commonwealth Games,” said Muia. Kemboi had in Glasgow complained of a tendon injury that curtailed his ambitions for a second “Club” Games title.
“I sustained a tendon injury last May and it has been a bother. I felt some pain when I tried to kick with 200m to go but I decided to take it easy,” said Kemboi. However, it’s left to be known whether the phenomenal Kemboi will strike for his maiden Africa crown.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke