Kibiwott holds off home-boys to take steeplechase gold

Abraham Kibiwott clinched the 3000 meters steeplechase race to give Kenya their first gold medal at the Africa Junior Athletic championships in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

Kibiwott clocked 8:47.43 edging Ethiopian Sidamo Wogene into second place.

The the silver medal winning Ethiopian posted 8:51.57 and was followed by compatriot Halamariam Amare in 9:01.58.

Delighted Kibiwott was especially impressed by the fact he had beaten the Ethiopians on their own turf.

“It was a tough race. The Ethiopians kept shadowing me but when it came to the last 50 metres I knew I had a good sprint and held them off to win the race,” added Kibiwott

Sandra Chebet bagged a bronze in the girls 3000m event. Ethiopia’s Medina Benso struck gold clocking 9:31.37 with compatriot Shevy Glacha going home with the silver in 9:34.48. Chebet settling for bronze in 9:38.60.

Chebet was satisfied with her performance.

“ It was a tough race the Ethiopians ran at a fast pace and I stayed on their tails but I found the final lap tough. I am glad I have won a medal for Kenya,” added Chebet.

Gilbert Kwemoi and Anthony Kiptoo qualified for the finals of the 1,500m finals. Kwemoi clocked 3:47.98 followed by Ethiopia’s Bekele Ayew in 3:48.12 and Djibouti’s Abdriuss Mouhyan in 3:51.90.

Kiptoo was in good form, winning the second heat and qualifying for the final by posting 3:59.74. Morocco’s Nabil Oussama was second in 3:59.99 followed by Chala Ketama of Ethiopia coming in 4:00.06

Kenya were expecting to bag more medals yesterday with Betty Chepkemei and Nalyanya Nafula gunning forglory in the 800 meters.

Alexander Sampao is entered in the 400m with Aron Kibet and Stephen Kipkoech entered in the 400m hurdles. Edwin Kiprotich and Davis Kiplangat were also expecting to battle Ethiopians in the 10,000m.

Meanwhile former Kenyan turned American Bernard Lagat, a five time world champion indoors and outdoors, will be aiming for another mark in the record books when he makes his 10km road race debut on May 10 at the Morrisons Great Manchester Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

The 40-year-old US distance runner has been rewriting the over-40s masters world record book during the 2015 indoor season and has pledged to have a crack at Haile Gebrselassie’s tough 10km age-group time of 28:00 when he lines up in Europe’s biggest 10km road race.

“That is a really quick time but it is good to shoot at something,” said Lagat. “I am going to train hard with my coach in Flagstaff, Arizona and I think I will shoot for that record.

“It is not going to be easy. It is like running two 14-minute 5km races back to back. That is something fast, but I will give it my best shot.”

Lagat, the world 1500m and 5000m champion in 2007 and three times winner of the world indoor 3000m title, has competed in two 5km races on the road and in one half marathon, passing the 10km checkpoint in 29:40.

“It is going to be my debut, because I have never run a 10km road race,” said the Kapsabet-born runner, the second-fastest man in history at 1500m, behind Moroccan world record-holder Hicham El Guerrouj, with a time of 3:26.34.

“The only time I remember running 10km was in cross country at university level, so the time that I run is going to be a personal best.”

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