BY KEITH McGHIE
Kenyan disappointed by missing gold medal but happy to be first Kenyan medallist in Glasgow
Stephen Chemlany couldn’t hide his disappointment at being beaten for the men’s marathon gold medal in Glasgow but stressed how elated he was to become Kenya’s first medallist of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Chemlany battled his way through still but damp conditions to finish 43 seconds behind Australia’s Michael Shelley in a time of 2:11:58, over five minutes outside his personal best.
Shelley, runner-up behind Kenya’s John Kelai in the same race in Delhi four years ago, was forced to run a lifetime best of 2:11:15 to shake off the determined Chemlany.
Chemlany was among a group of seven runners who broke away from the main field before the halfway mark and he, Shelley and Uganda’s Munyo Mutai pulled further clear with about six of the 42.2 kilometres to go.
But the 31-year old from Mount Elgon, previously a podium finisher at the Berlin, Shanghai, Rome and Seoul Marathons, couldn’t stay with an inspired Shelley who slipped away just before the 40km mark to win by about 200 metres.
“The course was good but a lot of the ground was a challenge,” admitted Chemlany, representing Kenya in global competition for the first time. “Maybe next time I’ll mix my training with some different weather”
“My expectation was that I hoped to get gold so I am a little disappointed. “But I am very proud to have a silver medal and be Kenya’s first medallist of these Games.”
Mutai, running over the marathon distance for the first time, misjudged the pace and slipped back to fourth, eventually being overhauled by fellow Ugandan Abraham Kiplimo, who recovered from slipping over at a drinks station to take the bronze medal.
Kelai, champion in Delhi four years ago and hoping to become only the second man to win the Commonwealth Marathon title twice, had to settle for fifth in a time of 2:12:41.
Kenya’s other representative Erick Ndiema, both the youngest and fastest on paper in the field, came home behind Kelai in sixth but limped away from the finish in some obvious distress.
Defending champion from the 2010 Games Kelai was first to congratulate his successor Michael Shelley after the Australian pulled away in the closing kilometres to take Commonwealth Gold in Glasgow.
Kelai, who beat Shelley by well over a minute four years ago in Delhi, had to settle for fifth place this time in the Scottish drizzle, but was hugely magnanimous in his praise of the new champion.
The 37-year old Kenyan whi crossed the finish line at Glasgow Green – a park in the city centre – 86 seconds adrift of winner Shelley said:
“I started very well and it was a good pace until it started to rain and became a bit slippery and that’s when we began to slow and be more careful around the bends.”
The precarious nature of the course was illustrated by Uganda’s Abraham Kiplimo who slipped and fell while diverting to take a drink but recovered to finish third.
Kelai continued: “I began to struggle with a few kilometres to go when I got heavy legs and a bit of cramp and at 37km I knew I wasn’t going to be able to win.
“I would like to congratulate him (Shelley) as he was second behind me in Delhi by a minute and 20 seconds but has worked hard to come back and win this time. “He is a very good athlete and I would like to say well done on his performance.”
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke