MONCTON, Canada, July 21- Dennis Masai with more than a little help from his colleague Paul Lonyangata became the seventh Kenyan winner of the IAAF World Junior Championships 10,000 metres title in Moncton on Wednesday morning.
Masai’s winning time of 27:53.88 a World leading mark for the year and a personal best by over 32 seconds was the result of a highly competitive race as he defeated Gebretsadik Abraha of Ethiopia and Lonyangata who also recorded lifetime fastest marks of 28:03.45 and 28:14.55.
"I’m so happy being number one in the world. You know, my partner, he had a stitch. What we were planning was not going well – we were running as a team,” said Masai.
"Now, I’m preparing for the Commonwealth [Games]. I’m so happy – of course! It has given me morale. You have to be happy,” he added.
The race really took off when Masai hit the front after 2200m and followed by Lonyangata they quickly reduced the field to a pack of six with their surging breaks on almost every lap.
The pair eventually wore down everyone apart from Abraha between 4km and 5km which was passed in 14:43.77 and it then became a classic Kenya versus Ethiopia duel with Abraha happy to follow and respond to every attack that was made.
Lonyangata who preceded Masai as world leader, himself felt the pace approaching 8km and began to fall backwards, his demise seeing Abraha immediately trying to pull clear and become the fifth Ethiopian winner of the title.
But it lasted for less than 300m when Masai put in another awesome burst of speed which opened a five metres gap which quickly became 10 and by 8600m saw him establish a healthy lead which he maintained to the finish.
Abraha said: "The race was very competitive. Because I was alone with the two Kenyans, I couldn’t do any better. There was also some pushing, but I did my best and I thank God.
"Once three of us remained, I knew I was running for second place, especially when I got stitches with six laps to go.
"They were trying to drop me and second place is a great honour for me."