NAIROBI, July 21 – Moses Masai clocked an impressive 12:55.72 to win the men’s 5,000 metres at the Barcelona Grand Prix on Sunday night as Kenyan athletes continued their trail blazing run in Europe.,
Masai who will represent the country in the 10,000 metres race at the Olympics, has been in fine fettle this season having won the 12 and a half laps race in Berlin and he continued with another masterful performance in Spain.
Designated pacemaker Benson Esho took the leaders through 2km in 5:10.62 and the 7000 fans in the Estadio Olympico Lluis Companys might have hoped briefly that the 12:50 barrier could be broken but the tempo dropped in the middle part of the race before Masai started to increase his speed in the final laps.
He put daylight between himself and fellow Olympic teammate Micah Kogo with a powerful surge at the bell and kept on pushing to cross the line in 12:55.72, with Kogo finishing second in 13:03.71.
In the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, World bronze medalist Eunice Jepkorir won in 9:18.76.
Jepokrir who is the second fastest woman in the distance this year led for most of the race before applying a finishing kick to leave Spain’s Marta Domínguez trailing in her wake.
Former World 800 metres indoor champion Wilfred Bungei and World champion Alfred Kirwa Yego finished second and third respectively in their specialty in a race won by Morocco’s Amine Laalou.
Bungei took the lead with 100 metres to go but Laalou’s late sprint relegated him to silver while Kirwa’s indifferent form continued with a third place finish.
Bungei timed 1:45.32 with Kirwa 0.01 seconds. World junior and Indoor champion Abubaker Kaki who was line dup for the race opted for the B race instead which he won in 1:44.93.
In Belgium, Paul Kipsiele Koech set a world leading time of 8:00.57 in the 3,000 metres steeplechase. Keen to make amends after missing out on a place in the Olympics team, Kipsiele was in world record pace and only dropped off in the final two laps.
James Kosgei and by Tareq Mubarak Taher who crossed the 2000m mark in 5:17 had set the pace perfectly as the victor chased Saif Shaheeen’s World record.
Kipsiele then took over and pushed forward but he withered before the end but his time was still the best so far this season eclipsing the time he ran at Prefontaine Classic in early June.
“It was tough to race in these rather chilly and windy conditions, but I am very happy with this performance,” said Koech.