BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA AND AGENCIES
Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Josphat Bett clinched bronze in the men’s 10,000m as the Africa athletics Championship got underway on Sunday in Marrakech.
Bett, who arrived barely 24 hours to the race, hanged with the chasing pack and clinched a medal. Bett clocked 28:11.61 with Eritrea’s Nguse Amlosom winning gold in 28:11.07. Morocco’ s Mustapha Elaziz settled for silver in 28:11.36. There was clear intent by the three Kenyans early on in the race as they positioned themselves with the leading pack that broke off at the halfway mark with Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Moses Kipsiro opting out of the event. Elaziz, Peter Kirui, the world championships finalist and Amsalom had each comfortably paced the field through until the last three laps to go.
The Moroccan then led a break off of five athletes as Kenyan Charles Cheruiyot and Peter Kirui fell 50m off the pace. Bett kept the pressure following Amlosom, a finalist in Moscow and at the London Olympics, who sped off at the bell for the easy win as the expected Ethiopian challenge failed.
Kirui finished sixth in 28:34.48 while Cheruiyot placed eighth in 28:47.08.
The top ranked Ethiopian was Adugna Takele in fourth with Imane Merga, the bronze winner at the worlds in Daegu, a disappointing fifth.
Kenyan athletes, however, struggled in the sprint races. Stephen Barasa (10.66) finished sixth in 100m heat 7 won by South African Akani Simbine in 10.35 secs. Tony Chirchir (10.95 secs) finished last in heat 5 won by another South African Simon Magakwe in 10.38 seconds.
Former Commonwealth games 400m champion Mark Mutai broke the trend by qualifying for the semi-finals of the 400m a race topped by Onkabets Nkobolo of Bostwana in 46.78. Another Botswanan Pako Seribe crossed the line first ahead of Bernard Mucheru (46.58) in heat two in 46.12.
In the field events, Tera Langat and Elijah Kimitei both qualified for the men’s long jump finals. Langat managed fourth with his third attempt of 7.74m behind favourite South African Khotso Mokoena.
Kimitei also sealed his final berth in Group ‘A’ with his fourth round leap of 7.43m, behind the winner South Africa’s Zarck Visser (7.92m).
The hammer throw was quite disappointing for the two Kenyan representatives. Lucy Omondi finished eighth after her second round attempt of 51.44m as national champion Linda Oseso struggled to break the 50m mark— posting 48.06m which locked her out of the final.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke