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Kenyans star in Rieti

NAIROBI, September 8 – Kenyan athletes yet again reigned supreme at the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Rieti on Sunday.

Reigning 800 metres World champion Alfred Kirwa won his specialty in 1:44.69 edging out Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei who was second in 1:45.05 while Olympic 1500 metres silver medalist Asbel Kipruto was third in 1:45.15.

In the 800 metres B race, All Africa Games bronze medalist Justus Koech won in 1:45.02 with countryman Ismael Kombich clinching second place in 1:45.72 while Ricahrd Kiplagat was fourth in 1:46.54.

Olympic 5,000 metres bronze medalist Edwin Soi won the men’s 3,000 metres ahead of Levy Matebo who finished second.

Soi applied his trademark finishing kick to win in 7:31.83 while Matebo timed 7:33.01. Former World junior 1500 metres champion Remmy Limo was third, Boniface Songok fourth while Kenyan born Qatari James Kwalia was fifth.

Kenyan born American Bernard Lagat spoiled the Kenyan party in the men’s 1500 metre beating World military champion Gideon Gathimba to second place. Gathimba who also won silver at the Africa Athletics Championships timed 3:34.61 to Lagat’s 3:32.75 while World Junior silver medalist James Magut was tenth in 3:43.59.

In the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, World Junior record holder Ruth Bosibori won in 9:21.30. The 21 year old who finished sixth in the Olympics final was simply in a class of her own winning by seven second margin. World junior silver medalist Elizabeth Mueni was seventh in 9:57.96 in her fisrt outing in the senior ranks.

World 800 metres champion and Olympic silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei finished a poor tenth position in the women’s one mile race. Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka won the race in 4:18.23 ahead of World 1500 metres champion Maryam Jamal who clocked 4:19.50 in second place.

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Peninah Jepchumba could only finish fifth while World junior bronze medallist Nelly Chebet was sixth in a 5,000 metres race won by Double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba.

Attention now moves to the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Zagreb on Tuesday with Kenyans expected to take centre stage in middle distance with the men’s 3,000 metres race which will feature Boniface Songok and Mike Kigen as a standout highlight.

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