Athens, July 14 – Olympic Champion Ezekiel Kemboi won the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase at the Athens Grand Prix on Sunday night.
Kemboi who finished second at the Golden Gala meet in Rome on Friday went one netter to win in 8:09.25 he continues his build up towards the Olympics where he will seek to become the first man to successfully defend his crown.
Bahrain’s Taher Mubarak was second in 8:11.58 with Wesley Kiprotich the next best placed Kenyan in fifth position.
Qatar’s World record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen who was attempting a comeback after a long time out due to injury dropped out of the race with two laps to go fuelling speculation over his recovery from the Achilles tendon injury.
In the women’s Steeplechase, Eunice Jepkorir, who set an Area record in Huelva, Spain on June 13 won in 9:26.56. Ethiopia’s African champion Zemzem Ahmed was second with 9.29.84, with World Junior record holder Ruth Bisibori clocking 9:30.23 in third.
Boaz Lalang improved his personal best by 0.01 seconds despite finishing fourth in the men’s 800 metres race. The 19 year old college student was the surprise inclusion in the Olympics squad and he continued his improvement by timing 1:44.68.
All Africa Games bronze medalist Justus Koech was fifth in 1:45.08 in a race won by Cuba’s Yeimer Lopez in 1:44.07. Uganda’s Abraham Chepkirwok was second with 1:44.26, and Bahrain’s Yusuf Saad Kamel third in 1:44.40.
In the women’s 1500 metres, the Kenyan duo of Irene Jelagat and Nancy Jebet Lagat finished a poor tenth and eleventh respectively in a race won by Bahrain’s Yusuf Maryam Jamal with 4:00.67, the fourth fastest time of the season.
Jelagat who was locked out of the national Olympics team despite winning at the trials because she had not attained the qualifying time timed 4:06.10 while Jebet stopped the clock at 4:06.10.
Usain Bolt continued with his red hot form clocking the fifth fastest ever time as he won the men’s 200m in a time 19.67 seconds despite a slightly negative wind mark (-0.5 m/s),
“I am very satisfied with my performance. The crowd helped me a lot. I feel sure I will be very strong at the Olympic Games,” confirmed Bolt.
The World Super Grand Prix series moves to Stockholm where the DN Galan meet will be held on July 22. Sudan’s World Indoor, and World Junior champion Abubaker Kaki will attempt to lower Noah Ngeny’s 1,000 metres World record.