Kiprop gives Kenya 10,000m gold

July 29th, 2010 | by addis portal |

NAIROBI — Hosts Kenya claimed the first gold in the African Athletics championships on Wednesday when Wilson Kiprop held off Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro to win the men’s 10,000 metres.

Kiprop, the national record holder, moved into the lead on the final bend after taking over from his tiring compatriot Geoffrey Mutai to claim the title in 27min 32.91sec.

The race had been billed as a contest between Kenya and Ethiopia, but it failed to live to its expectations after the Ethiopia challenge of Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Sileshi Sihine and Teklemariam Medhin faded away after 15 laps as three Kenyans, led by Kiprop, opened up the race.

But Kipsiro, a former world 5,000m bronze medallist, stuck with the Kenyans to the end and was rewarded with the silver medal.

“This was not my race. But because it was a long distance event, I decided to stay with the Kenyans and try my luck and the strategy worked,” said Kipsiro.

The Ugandan was timed at 27:33.37 with Mutai third in 27:33.83. Another Kenyan, Mathew Kisorio (27:56.71) was placed fourth.

South Africa enjoyed a cleansweep in the men’s shot putt with Burger Lambrechts leading his two countrymen Rolf Potgeiter and Orazio Cremona onto the winners podium.

Earlier, Nigerian sprinters led a West African domination of the sprint events at the start of the championship’s 17th edition in the Kenyan capital.

Unheralded Agnes Osazuwa eclipsed her much-famous compatriots Blessing Okagbare and Damola Osayemi to set the fastest time in qualifying in the women’s 100m heats.

The 23-year-old Osazuwa, a member of Nigeria’s Olympic bronze-medal winning relay team in Beijing in 2008, timed 11.51 in winning the fourth heat, beating veteran Cameroonian Charlotte Mebenga into second place.

Gabon’s Perennes Pau Milama was the second fastest qualifier in 11.56 while Okagbare (11.56) and Osayemi (11.60) both won their respective heats to reach Thursday’s semi-finals.

In the men’s heats, Nigerian champion Obinna Metu ran the fastest time of 10.37, leading Seoud Mostafa of Egypt to set his personal best time 10.43 in second place. Ivorian Serge Koffi, who was third, also hit the qualifying time.

Kenyan champion Kipkemboi Soy surprised the strong field by leading from the start to the finish to win in a personal best time of 10.66, ahead of Simon Mgakwe of South Africa and Devin Uri-Khob of Namibia who was third.

The events opened under heavy security in and outside the stadium following deadly bombings in neighbouring Uganda.

Police with dogs and anti-riot police in heavy gear kept a close watch, while spectators and athletes were searched before entering the venue.

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