By AYUMBA AYODI
Athletics Kenya coaches must be scratching their heads ahead of the World Championships after the country’s top athletes were defeated in 10,000m and 5,000m at the Prefontaine Classic, Eugene, USA on Saturday.
World 10,000m bronze medallist, Kenya’s Paul Tanui seemed headed for victory in the 10,000m race only for the World and Olympic 10,000m and 5,000m Mo Farah to hold him off for victory.
In men’s 5,000m, Kenya’s 2008 Beijing Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi was left playing second fiddle to Ethiopian 17-year-old Yomif Kejelcha, who won the World junior title last July at the same arena.
Kenya has not won the 10,000m title at the World Championships since 2001 Edmonton by Charles Kamathi while Benjamin Limo is the last Kenyan to win 5,000m at 2005 Helsinki.
The races in Prefontaine were like a prelude to the World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing, China and Kenyans were expected to excel. Farah upheld his winning streak in the event that stretches back to 2011.
Farah pulled away on the final lap to win in a season’s best time of 26min 50.97sec. Tanui settled for second in 26:51.86, with compatriot World Half Marathon and World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kipsang third in 26:52.65. Geoffrey Kirui and Emmanuel Bett also from Kenya settled for fifth and sixth in 27:17.91 and 27:22.34 respectively.
The top three were inside the previous best in the world this year, the 27:08.21 clocked by Tanui on May 16.
Nevertheless, Farah was disappointed that a slow early pace left him outside the time he had in mind – somewhere around 26:30.
“It would have been good to run a little bit faster,” Farah said. “Training has been going really well, I’ve done some great sessions. My aim was to run a little faster.”
Farah’s time was more than four seconds slower than his personal best, but he had plenty left to power past Tanui, who had edged ahead going into the final lap.
Kenya’s 2008 Beijing Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi was left playing second fiddle in men’s 5,000m to Ethiopian 17-year-old Yomif Kejelcha, who won the World junior title last July at the same arena.
Kejelcha, poured it on late to win the men’s 5,000m in a season-leading and personal best time of 13:10.54, beating Soi to second in 13:11.97 as home athlete, the 2012 London Olympics 10,000m silver medallist Gulen Rupp settled for third in 13:12.36.
Rupp had taken the lead with 700 meters remaining, Kejelcha powered past with 300 meters to go and pulled away for a convincing win.
Kenyans were to feature in more events Saturday night.
The women’s 5,000m race was expected to mark the return of the 2011 World 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and 2013 World Cross junior champion Faith Chepng’etich on track. Also is the race were 2012 London Olympics 10,000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego and World Indoor 3,000m champion Genzebe Dibaba.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke