NAIROBI, Kenya, October 6 – Kenya bagged three medals on day three of the Commonwealth including gold for Jason Dunford who won the men’s 50m butterfly final on Wednesday.
Eliud Kipchoge and Mark Kiptoo secured silver and bronze in the men’s 5000m final that was won by Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro in a time of 13:31.25.
Dunford held off stiff competition from South Africa’s Mark Schoeman and Andrew Huegill from Australia to win the race in 23.35 seconds.
At the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kipsiro planned his race to perfection to hold off charging former Kenyan world champion and win the race in thrilling fashion.
Kipchoge, the fastest man over the distance this year, was perfectly placed in second at the bell behind Kipsiro and took the lead briefly with 300 metres to go.
But the Ugandan refused to give up and fought back as they came to the final bend neck and neck, ducking over the line in 13 minutes 31.25 seconds.
Another Kenyan, Mark Kiptoo, took the bronze.
"I wanted this badly, badly, badly and God has given me the gift," said an ecstatic Kipsiro.
On a humid night with a thick haze of pollution enveloping stadium, the it was touch and go whether the athletics would go ahead after the track and in-field were damaged during Sunday’s opening ceremony here.
But 1,000 workers toiled throughout the night to ensure the competition went ahead, patching up the track and returfing parts of the field.
The conditions though were never going to be suitable for a quick time and the 13 minute barrier was never under threat.
Kipsiro, who was an agonising fourth over this distance at the last Olympics, World Championships and African Championships, went through in the lead after the first lap before Rwanda’s Sylvain Rukundo took over the pace.
The runners were bunched until the half-way mark when Kiptoo upped the ante, taking Vincent Yator, Kipchoge, and Kipsiro with him as the top names took control.
Australia’s Chris Birmingham and England’s Chris Thompson stayed in touch but the Africans were in charge with three laps to go.
Kipchoge, who has run a world-best 12:51.21 this year, looked the strongest at the bell but it was Kipsiro’s night.
"It was tactical race. Everyone was waiting for the final kick. I knew the Kenyans had a plan for me," Kipsiro said.
"I wanted to conserve my energy for the last lap. I knew I had to be in front of the Kenyans with 400m to go and I surged at the 800m mark to put myself in a good position."
"When I surged, I wanted the Kenyans to know that things would not be easy."
"Then I surged again with 500m remaining because I knew I had to be in front on the last lap.
"Kipchoge attacked me with 300m to go, 200m to go and again in the last 100m. I just didn’t want him to pass me."