Golden day for Kenya at championships

What you need to know:

  • After struggling with a recurrent knee injury, the 2011 world champion obliterated the field to reclaim the gold in 1:45.84 at a packed Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing.
  • In the 400m hurdles, Nicholas Bett wrote his name in the history books with a breathtaking display in the final hurdle to claim the gold in a national record and 2015 world-leading time of 47.79.
  • Cheruiyot, who won both the 5,000m and 10,000m world titles at the 2011 Championships in Daegu, South Korea, failed to defend her titles in the 2013 Moscow Worlds.

A historic day when Kenya won its first ever gold medal in the sprints was capped by a magnificent performance by 800m world record holder David Rudisha.

After struggling with a recurrent knee injury, the 2011 world champion obliterated the field to reclaim the gold in 1:45.84 at a packed Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China.

And this was a perfect comeback for him after injury forced him out of the Moscow Worlds two years ago. “Today was more like a tactical race and that’s all I wanted to do,” said Rudisha.

“I knew I had my speed and there was nothing really to worry about because I wanted to run that way, to control my speed and then sprint in the last 150 metres as I planned. I knew the guys didn’t have my speed.”

NATIONAL RECORD

In the 400m hurdles, Nicholas Bett wrote his name in the history books with a breathtaking display in the final hurdle to claim the gold in a national record and 2015 world-leading time of 47.79.

Charging on the outer eighth lane, the 23-year-old sliced 0.44 seconds off Erick Keter’s national record, which had stood for 22 years since the 1993 IAAF World Championships.

Bett ran the sixth fastest time in the world when he won the national trials in 48.29 on August 1 in Nairobi. After missing part of the 2012 season, Bett came back to finish second during the trials for the Moscow Worlds in 49.70 that placed him in the top 50 vanguard that year even though he didn’t make it to Moscow.

For ‘King David”, after breaking the world record in the London Olympics, he sustained a knee injury while in training in New York and had been struggling to regain form on return last year.

At the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, he settled for silver, losing the battle to Botswana’s Nijel Amos.

He was battling against time to regain his speed after losing to Amos twice this season in Lausanne and London and to compatriot Ferguson Rotich at the national trials.

But yesterday, he buried all the bad memories and displayed a flawless performance.

Rudisha might have been inspired by another comeback champion — Vivian Cheruiyot.

After a two-year maternity leave, Cheruiyot returned with a bang, winning the 10,000m gold in 31:41.3 on Monday.

Cheruiyot, who won both the 5,000m and 10,000m world titles at the 2011 Championships in Daegu, South Korea, failed to defend her titles in the 2013 Moscow Worlds.

“Pocket Rocket is back. I dedicate this medal to my family — my husband and son Allan Kiprono,” Cheruiyot said after her victory.

INDOOR CHAMPION

She outkicked Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka, former indoor 1,500m champion in the last 200m to storm to victory.

Burka took silver in 31:43.49 and American Emily Infeld took bronze in 31:43.49.

“The race was too slow but I was prepared for either a fast or slow race,” Cheruiyot said.

After her victory, Ezekiel Kemboi added yet another gold in Kenya’s speciality — the men’s 3,000m steeplechase. In a thrilling display, Kemboi broke ahead with less than 300m to go, scaling the hurdles in style to win in 8:11.28, a jaw-breaking performance that brought the Bird’s Nest to its feet.

Kemboi had previously won gold medals at the 2009, 2011 and 2013 championships to equal his mentor and coach Moses Kiptanui’s record of three wins.

Kemboi launched his chequered steeplechase career with silver at the 2003, 2005 and 2007 World Championships. Kenya closed Day Four on top of the medal standings with four gold, three silver and two bronze.

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