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Rabbit Nyambura steals Doha steeple victory

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Virginia Nyambura (left) and Ethiopia's Hiwot Ayalew in the women 3000m steeplechase race at IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday.

Virginia Nyambura (left) and Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew in the women 3000m steeplechase race at IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday.

NAIROBI, May 16- Pacesetter Virginia Nyambura caused possibly the biggest upset of the night as she started the women’s 3000m steeplechase as a rabbit but, after leading the field through to the agreed 2000m point, carried on going to win in 9:21.51 as the IAAF Diamond League got off to an explosive start in Doha on Friday.

The protégé of world champion, Milcah Chemos was the only Kenyan winner in the star-studded sixth edition of the Qatar marquee track and field race that served up great shocks, with double Olympics and World champion, Britain’s Mo Farah taken down the altar by Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrehiwot in the men 3000m closing race much to the delight of the strong contingent of East Africans in the stadium.

“I’m delighted my girl went out there and won the race. She’s an exciting talent to watch for this season,” ecstatic Chemos who won Commonwealth silver in an injury plagued last season said on phone.

Nyambura who helped her country to Distance Medley silver at the IAAF Bahamas World Relays less than a fortnight ago in Nassau where Kenya clocked 10:43.35 behind the USA announced her arrival to the big stage when she cobbled together a world leading victory to salvage pride for her nation.

The 21 year-old who launched her season with successive victories over 1500m at the third Safaricom Relay Series meeting on March 14 (4:11.8) and during the Trials for Bahamas (4:10.0) in Nairobi led the field through 1000m in 3:05.35 before crossing 2000m in 6:19.59.

Instead of leaving the competition to the top bills led by 2014 Diamond Race winner, Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew, the African champion and Continental Cup silver winner, Nyambura motored on to the consternation of the favourites for her most famous victory yet.

Ayalew tried to eat up the ground over the homestretch but ended up second in 9:21.54 as another Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng closed the podium in 9:22.11 in a race Worlds silver medallist, Lydia Chekurui finished fifth in 9:27.52.

Gebrhiwet showed Farah a clean air of heels over the last lap of the 3000m to win in 7:38.08. The Ethiopian held off a late surge from Britain’s double world, Olympic and European champion, as Farah failed to cover his rival’s move just before the bell and he had to come from a long way back but just came up short when finishing second in 7:38.22.

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman was a delighted winner of the men’s 800m in 1:43.78, confounding most pundits who had generally been predicting the race was going to be decided between Ethiopia’s world indoor and outdoor champion Mohammed Aman and Kenya’s world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.

In the end, neither man had any real impact on the race after Souleiman hit the front just before the final bend and held off all challengers.

Kiprop, who withdrew from Bahamas with a hamstring strain later saying that he still needed to do some speed work but was generally happy with the outcome, finished fifth in 1:45.11.

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