Jelimo out of African championships

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NAIROBI, June 26- Olympic and African 800m champion Pamela Jelimo on Saturday failed in her latest comeback bid when she dropped out of Kenyan trials for next month's African athletics championships.
Jelimo, who trailed the strong field after a fierce first lap, appeared to lose her concentration as the athletes jostled for positions on the home stretch. She subsequently pulled out of the race and will not defend her title at the continental championships in Nairobi.

The race was won by Janeth Jepkosgei, the 2007 world champion in an impressive time of 1:58.95, ahead of the world junior champion Winny Chebet (2:00.88) and teenager Eunice Sum (2:02.55) in third spot.

"I look forward to running a faster time during the African championships", said an excited Jepkosgei.

"It is great to win again after struggling at the World championships in Berlin. Now I aim to run in Eugene and Gateshead, England before returning home to prepare."

Two reigning African champions, David Rudisha (800m) and Richard Mateelong (3000m steeplechase) faced little opposition in their specialities as they both booked their places in the July 28 to August 1 championships.

Rising star Rudisha, who ran the fastest ever 800m time of the year last March in Australia, could even afford to slow down and still win by over a minute ahead of former world champion Alfred Kirwa Yego.

"I have trained hard and I was confident of winning. I took control of the race throughout and even relaxed towards the end," said Rudisha.

Mateelong took full advantage after world 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi was forced to sit out the final following a bizzare incident when the hammer thrown from the field landed on his leg during Friday’s semi-finals.

Kemboi, who ended up with a leg plaster, was however named in the team for the African championships.

A front piece of running by Asbel Kiprop kept the Olympic 1,500m champion well position to get the better of his big rivals Silas Kiplagat and Nichlas Kemboi, in the sprint finish to the race.

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