Athletics

Obiri, Chelimo deliver Kenya’s first medals in Eugene

Letsenebet Gidey crosses the line to win the women's 10,000m. PHOTO/Courtesy
  • Obiri and Chelimo won silver and bronze in the women’s 10,000m
  • Kenyans progressed in the various heats
  • The World Championships enters Day Three on Sunday

Hellen Obiri and Margaret Chelimo earned Kenya’s first two medals at the World Athletics Championships after winning silver and bronze in the women’s 10,000m

The two put up a superb final sprint in a sensational finish that saw Ethiopia’s Letsenebet Gidey scoop gold, whole defending champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands finished fourth.

The Ethiopian clocked 30:09.94 while Obiri came home second in 30:10.02, a personal best for the 32-year-old. Her Kenyan team mate Chelimo clocked 30:10.56.

At the final bend of the race, it was clearly a fight between Obiri, Gidey and Hassan who were in the top three. But approaching the home stretch, Gidey made the first move and Obiri followed, with the defending champion sticking on their coattails.

However, in the final 50m of the race, Chelimo emerged from the inside and powered beyond Hassan, who seemed to be fizzling away in intense pace. Gidey managed to dip over the line first though in controversial circumstances as she looked to throw an elbow on Obiri’s path before the line.

No protest from Kenya

Action from teh women’s 10,00m. PHOTO/World Athletics

However, the Kenyan officials chose not to protest the incident with most on social media saying the Ethiopian had played dirty to prevent Obiri from pipping her at the line.

Elsewhere, Faith Kipyegon and Winny Chebet both progressed to the final of the women’s 1500m.

Kipyegon was peerless in her Heat, winning in 4:03.98 ahead of Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha to make a place in Tuesday morning’s final. Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay who is the biggest threat to Kipyegon’s throne posted the fastest time in the semis, winning her Heat in 4:01.28 ahead of Great Britain’s Laura Muir.

The fast pace from this Heat was a benefit for African champion Winny Chebet who also qualified to the final by virtue of being one of the fastest finishers outside the automatic slots. She timed a season’s best of 4:03.08.

In the men’s race, Charles Simotwo was the only casualty from the first round as reigning champion Timothy Cheruiyot, Abel Kisang and Kumari Taki all progressed to the semi-finals.

While Cheruiyot and Kipsang qualified among the automatic timers, Taki had to wait till the end to squeeze in as one of the fastest non automatic qualifiers.

Taki squeeze in

Timothy Cheruiyot powers to a win at the Monaco Diamond League

He timed 3:36.41 to make the semis, in a Heat won by Australia’s Oliver Hoare in 3:36.17. Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia and Andrew Coscoran finished second and third.

In the second Heat, Taki and Simotwo finished ninth and 10th. However, Taki was luckier as his time of 3:36.47 from the fastest of the three heats took him across as one of the non-automatic qualifiers.

Heat Three was the slowest, but on-form Kipsang still managed to squeeze in to the next round after finishing third in a time 3:39.21 in a race won by Great Britain’s Josh Kerr in a time of 3:38.94.

In the women’s steeplechase, Celiphine Chespol will be the sole flagbearer in the final after Jackline Chepkoech and Purity Kirui fell by the wayside.

World U20 champion Jackline Chepkoech finished sixth in her heat in 9:27.50, slightly over 15 seconds outside third place. Kirui was 11th in her Heat in 9:26.88. Meanwhile Chespol bossed her Heat, winning in 9:16.78.

Kenya’s sole flagbearer in the men’s 400m hurdles Moitalel Mpoke progressed to the semis after finishing fourth in his heat, timing 50.19secs in a race won by World Record holder Karsten Warholm who clocked 49.34.

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