Mwangangi dedicates victory to Mpeketoni victims

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Caleb Mwangangi (centre) leads others in their 5000m heat during Safaricom National Athletics Championship at the Nyayo Stadium on June 5, 2014.

What you need to know:

  • Mwangangi found himself running alone over the final two laps in the Zatopek Memorial 3,000m after other competitors failed to match his blistering pace.
  • Mwangangi is in Kenya’s 5,000m team for the Commonwealth Games due next month in Scotland.
  • Kenyan Hyvin Jepkomei fought off a strong charge from Morocco’s Salima Alami to win the 3000m steeplechase in 9:22.58, 0.53s shy of her career best. Alami’s perseverance paid off in the form of a 9:23.27 personal best.

World Indoor 3,000m champion Caleb Mwangangi dedicated his World Lead victory in the men’s 3,000m at the IAAF World Challenge in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Tuesday to the victims of the Mpeketoni attacks.

Mwangangi found himself running alone over the final two laps in the Zatopek Memorial 3,000m after other competitors failed to match his blistering pace.

Unfazed, he forged on to produce an impressive 7:31.66 victory, a world lead and just inside the previous meeting record.

“Today was my birthday, I thank God for a great year in my sports career. No celebration, I dedicate the day to the families in the coastal part of my lovely country Kenya affected by the fatal attacks,” said Mwangangi.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Mwangangi is in Kenya’s 5,000m team for the Commonwealth Games due next month in Scotland.

The afternoon world record assault in the women’s 20km came to an abrupt halt when Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat succumbed to apparent stomach problems and stepped off the track 29 laps into the 50-lap contest.

In the absence of Kiplagat, who is the two times Berlin Marathon champion and World Half Marathon record holder, her compatriot Alice Kimutai was the clear winner.

“She didn’t have any problems before the race, she was perfectly prepared to break the record,” her coach Renato Canova said. “She started to feel a stomach ache during the race and couldn’t continue.”

Catching and passing Ethiopian Mulahabt Tsega just as the gun sounded one minute to go in the one-hour race, the 22-year-old went on to win the race in 1:08:32.2, 35 seconds clear of Tsega. En route, they covered 17,545m and 17,544m over one-hour, respectively.

STEEPLECHASE VICTORY

Kenyan Hyvin Jepkomei fought off a strong charge from Morocco’s Salima Alami to win the 3000m steeplechase in 9:22.58, 0.53s shy of her career best. Alami’s perseverance paid off in the form of a 9:23.27 personal best.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba brought the stadium to life with a brave assault on the world 2,000m record. She came up a bit short, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

She reached the midway point in 2:42.67, within half a second off the pre-race target, before forging on alone for the final 900 metres. She passed the bell in 4:20.62, needing to close in less than 65 seconds to take down Sonia’ Sullivan’s 5:25.36 record set 20 years ago.

Urged on by the crowd’s clapping, stomping and screaming, the double world indoor record-holder gritted her teeth as she entered the final stretch before crossing the line in 5:27.50, the third fastest performance in history and an African record.

Her compatriot Senbera Teferi was a distant second in an African junior record of 5:34.27.

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