Athletics Athletics

Sum, Jepkosgei, Gicharu storm to semis

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EUNICE-SUMNAIROBI, Kenya, July 30 – World champion Eunice Sum and mentor Janeth Jepkosgei sailed to the semi-finals of the women 800m as Commonwealth silver winner, flyweight Benson Gicharu, also made the last four on Wednesday in Glasgow.

On the track, Sum completed a wire-to-wire victory in the fastest time of the day of 2:02.37 in the heats to underline her favourite status to add the Club Games crown to the Worlds title she won in Moscow last summer.

Sum was in total control of Heat 4 to cruise to the semis ahead of North Ireland’s Katie Kirk who finished second in her personal best of 2:03:00 and Australia’s Brittany Mc Gowan who claimed the last automatic qualification berth in third.

Melbourne 2006 champion Jepkosgei qualified from Heat 2 after crossing the line third in 2:05.37 despite commanding the race until the home-straight where Canadian Jessica Smith cruised past the former World Champion to win in 2:05.22, seven seconds ahead of Ugandan prospect Winnie Nanyondo.

The pair that teamed up for 4x800m silver at the Bahamas World Relays will run together in Thursday’s semis hoping to reach the finals to hold on to the title won by Nancy Jebet Langat in Delhi.

The duo will not be joined by Agatha Jeruto who bowed out after finishing fifth in a time of 2:04.64.

In sprints, Kenya will see US based Calvin Nkanata seek to qualify for the 200m finals after sailing through to the semis by finishing second in a lifetime best of 20.65.

Nkanata who anchored the 4x200m men relay team in Bahamas to fifth will bid to become the first Kenyan to win a medal in 200m after posting good times in US meets.

Former Rugby player and national champion Collins Omae was bundled out after finishing second last in his preliminary.

Boniface Mucheru dug deep to cruise to the men 400m Hurdles semis after finishing second in 49.67 as Nicholas Bett crashed out of the competition, finishing fifth in 51.21.

Gicharu in semis

In boxing flyweight silver medallist Benson Gicharu qualified to the last four after out-boxing Caynam’s Tafari Ebanks in the men’s bantam weight quarters to progress to Thursday’s semis.

Gicharu won the first two rounds against his opponent to collect 87 points and book a date with Englands Qais Ashfaq, celebrating his passage with three back flips in the ring.

He is the only Kenyan pugilist in the running for the Commonwealth podium.

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