BERLIN, August 22 – Abel Kirui led compatriot Emmanuel Mutai to a 1-2 finish as Kenyan once again demonstrated its prowess in road running at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin on Saturday.
The 27 year old led from the halfway mark to win gold in a new championship record of 2:06:54 as Kenya displayed brilliant team tactics to successfully defend the title won by Luke Kibet in Osaka in 2007.
"I was overjoyed with emotion. You know as I approached the finish line I could not believe it was happening. It is great for me to win in these championships because this is my first time to win gold and represent Kenya,” said Kirui.
Mutai who was also making his debut in a Kenyan vest clinched an impressive silver.
“The race was very good. I worked very hard and it showed today. I am delighted to win silver in my very first time to represent Kenya. It’s a big appreciation for me and also for my country,” said Mutai.
“We decided to run as a team and help each other with pace making to ensure that we won the individual title and it worked very well,” he added.
Four time Boston marathon champion Robert Mwafrika Cheruiyot was fifth in a time of 2:10:46.
“We had to push the pace because the Ethiopians were very strong. Even if the other two Kenyans were ahead, I had to keep going because I wanted us to win the team title,” stated Cheruiyot.
Head coach Peter Mathu was delighted with his charges’ performances.
“All our runners were very strong and we had prepared for the race for the last five months, we set them out to run as a team and not give anyone a chance. I am very happy with Cheruiyot especially who really set the pace for the others. Today proves that Kenya is the best in marathon,” said Mathu.
Kenya now has three gold, three silver and two bronze.