NAIROBI, August 15 – Kenya missed out on a medal in the 10,000 metres race on Friday evening as World champion Tirunesh Dibaba clinched gold in the first track final of the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing China.
World Cross country bronze medallist Linet Masai finished fourth in a new World junior record time of 30:26.50, while Lucy Wangui Kabuu was fifth as Dibaba strode to victory to win the only medal missing from her impressive collection.
Peninah Arusei who was controversially included in the team at the last minute in place of Africa 5,000 metres bronze medallist Grace Momanyi, finished a poor 18th in 31:39.87.after undergoing the humility of being lapped.
Earlier in the day, All Africa Games champion Ruth Bosibori and World bronze medallist Eunice Jepkorir both made it to the final of the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase.
Jepkorir upset World Champion Yeketerina Volkova to the final heat in 9:21.31. She was the leading pack throughout the race before edging ahead of Volkova in the final 150 metres to register a rare win over the talented Russian.
Bosibori was in the same heat as World record holder Gulnara Samitova Galkina where she finished second up to make Sunday’s final in 9:19.75.
No such luck however for Veronica Nyaruai who fell at the water jump and never recovered finishing in a poor tenth in 10:01.69.
The 1500 metres duo of All Africa Games champion Asbel Kiprop and Commonwealth champion Augustine Choge both qualified to the semifinals of the men’s mile race.
Kiprop easily won his heat in 3:41.28 while Choge was third in 3:35.47 in a heat won by Rashid Ramzi.
There was no joy however for Nicholas Kemboi who limped to 11th place n his heat.
While Kiprop led for most of the race before easing off in the final metres, behind World champion Bernard Lagat was struggling to stay in touch with the leaders barely scrapping through to the semis in 3:41.98.
Action resumes early Saturday with 2004 Olympic Gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi staring the defence of his title. Kemboi has vowed to become the first Kenyan ever to retain the steeplechase crown.
World champion Brimin Kipruto and Africa champion Richard Mateelong will also be on show as Kenya seeks to continue a rich tradition as the country has won every gold in the race in all Olympic Games that they have competed in since 1968.
The 800 metres women semifinals will take place later in the day with World champion Janeth Jepkosgei and World junior record holder Pamela Jelimo seeking to make it to the final.