Momanyi clinches 10000m title


NEW DELHI, India, October 9- Grace Momanyi and Doris Changeiywo capped off a great night for Kenya by completing a 1-2 win in the women’s 10,000 metres final on Friday.Momanyi clocked 32:34:11 to clinch gold with Changeiywo grabbing silver in 32:36:97.

For Momanyi the victory was especially sweet after three years of frustration and bad luck.

The mother of one made her debut on the track for Kenya at the 2008 African championships but was blocked by the Ethiopian duo of Meseret Defar and Meselech Melkamu on the final straight settling for bronze.

Late in the year, she was selected for the Olympics team set for Beijing only to be dropped on flimsy grounds after allegations that she had refused to train while in the Chinese city.

Heartbroken, and downcast, Momanyi vowed not to compete again for Kenya saying she had been treated badly by the officials.

2009 brought a change of heart with Momanyi getting the nod to compete at the word championships. She did a great job of pacemaking for eventual winner Grace Momanyi before finishing fifth.

But on a warm night in Delhi, she finally clinched gold.

“I feel great and I thank God to have an opportunity to win a gold medal- my first ever title. The race was not very competitive but we are happy with gold and silver,” she said.

“I can’t explain my happiness, it took time to get over what happened in Beijing but I feel really good, fantastic and great because I have finally achieved my dream,” added Momanyi.

The race itself was pretty straightforward for the Kenyan duo.

Momanyi and Changeiywo were tucked in behind the leaders for most of the first ten laps leaving the pacemaking duties to the Indian trio of Preeja Sreedharan, Kavita Raut and Lalita Babar.

With 14 laps to go, Momanyi moved to second place but Changeiywo still remained at the tail end of the race. But with 3600 metres to go, Changeiywo decided she’d had enough moving to the front and steadily pulling away with Momanyi keeping her company.

The duo were in full gear now taking turns at pushing the pace to open a 120 metre gap with three laps to go.

At the bell, Momanyi shifted through the gears to win and give Kenya her fourth straight Commonwealth Games title.

Behind them, India’s Raut was having a storming race and cheered on by the thousands in the stadium, she went on to win bronze in 33:05:28.