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Mighty Kenyans finish with golden hat-trick

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CHERONO-DELHINAIROBI, Kenya, August 3- Julius Yego speared his way to history books with victory in the men Javelin as the indomitable Kenyan middle and long-distance runners, this time Mercy Cherono and James Magut; reigned supreme as the track and field programme closed at the Glasgow Commonwealth with a golden hat-trick.

It was a magical night where Kenya took their gold medal tally to ten, two from the usual source of the endurance events, but the other was a memorable javelin victory from Yego.

He made history by becoming the first Kenyan athlete to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal in a field event.

The javelin thrower did so despite suffering a pulled groin muscle in the warm-up.

Yego launched the spear to 83.87m in the third round which a strong field could not match.

Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott came closest in the final round with 82.67m, but the Trinidad and Tobago thrower had to be content with silver this time, despite throwing a national record of 85.28m in qualifying on Friday.

Australia’s Hamish Peacock won the bronze medal with 81.75m.

“It was not easy as I picked up an injury in the warm-up area,” said Yego. “I almost pulled out of the competition because my groin was really painful, but I said ‘no, this is the championship I have been working for all season’.

“This (the Commonwealth Games) is where our legend Kipchoge Keino made history for Kenya and now I am making history in the field events,” the track and field captain told IAAF.

Kenya added to their gold medal haul with wins in the men’s 1500m and women’s 5000m.

James Magut finished the strongest in the men’s 1500m to improve by one place on his silver medal from four years ago, clocking 3:39.31. His 18-year-old team mate Ronald Kwemoi was overhauled in the final metres and finished just 0.22 adrift.

Similarly, New Zealand’s Nick Willis just edged out South Africa’s Johan Cronje in a tight contest for the bronze medal by 0.05, the former crossing the line in 3:39.60.

While not quite as successful as their female teammates, Magut’s gold was the men’s third after those in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase, the latter providing a clean sweep of medals for both the men and women’s teams.

“I am really happy with today’s success,” said Magut, who surged to victory in the final stretch. “I always have that finish in the last 100m.”

The women’s 5000m saw another thrilling finish as England’s Jo Pavey, now 40, defied her years to lead at the bell.

Kenya’s world silver medallist Mercy Cherono made her decisive move around the final turn, sprinting home in 15:07.21.

Pavey and Cherono’s compatriot Janet Kisa fought out silver down the closing straight with Kisa just holding off the fast-finishing Pavey by 0.06 to finish second in 15:08.90.

Cherono later explained why she decided to strike for home with 200 metres remaining: “I was just waiting to see my colleague, but when the England lady (Pavey) came, I decided to move. I had the feeling I could go. It was my mission to come here and be on the podium.”

It meant that Kenya had won the gold medal in every women’s endurance event from 800m to marathon at this edition of the Games, another historical feat.

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