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Jelimo stops Semenya, Bolt out of steam

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25- Olympic and World Indoors women 800m champion Pamela Jelimo strung together a commanding victory over chief rival and 2009 World Champion, South Africa’s Caster Semenya as the Ostrava Golden Spike meet went down on Friday.

From the gun, resurgent Jelimo who won the opening Samsung Diamond League event in Doha in a world leading 1:56.94 looked in control of the race in the opening lap.

After the bell, the Istanbul gold winner went through the gears to fire a broadside to one of her expected challengers for a successful defence of her Olympics title when she tore from Semenya to take the honours in a shining 1:58.49 in unfavourable headwind.

The South African Daegu silver medallist, who like Jelimo a season earlier, sprung from the blue to shake up the women two-lap scene in 2009 when she bagged the world title in Berlin as a teen accepted second place in 2:00.80, well ahead of third finisher, Ethiopian talent, Fantu Magiso (2:01.03) who pushed the Beijing gold winner all the way in Doha.

“Of course everybody wants to do their best because it is so close to the Olympics,” said Jelimo, whose kick at the bell opened up too much air between her and the chasing pack.

“I do not run against anybody, including Caster. I just focus on myself. I want to try and do even better next week,” the world junior champion told AFP after her win.

Yet another sub 2:00 performance from Jelimo, the third in succession since March when she became the first Kenyan track female runner to bag a World Indoor title when she raced to a national record victory of 1:58.83, has given the country further belief that the ‘Kapsabet Express’ is close to the form that had seismic impact on her 2008 dream debut.

“As we have continued to insist, it is too early to say she is a definite winner in London since we are taking each race as it comes.

“She has been through a difficult three years and every good performance is adding to her confidence she can do it again,” her management, Golazo Sports country director, Barnabas Korir told Capital FM moments after the race.

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Fresh from bagging the Kenya Police 5000m title, another Golazo runner and World Junior titleholder, Isaiah ‘Chairman’ Kiplangat enhanced his growing reputation further when he scored a dominant victory in the men 3000m with 7:37.14 on the electronic timer.

Kiplangat, who is eyeing a slot in the competitive 5000m when the Kenyan London Olympics Trials are held in July, was in imperious form over the last 400m, charging away from the field for a crushing solo victory as compatriot Cornelius Kagongo (7:39.73) edged out the bridesmaid fight for second in 7:39.73.

British hopeful, Andrew Baddeley followed the Kenyan in third with 7:39.86 in the flying finish for silver to prevent the clean sweep as Japheth Korir; a 2010 World Cross junior medallist came fourth in 7:40.37.

Joseph Kitur (7:42.52) and the trailing pair of Cornelius Ndiwa (8:25.15) who brought out the tail in 16th and 17th completed the Kenyan compliment of finishers.

Elsewhere, the IAAF World Challenge event, the seventh of the season, saw triple Olympic sprint champion and record holder, Usain Bolt record the slowest time of his professional career when he won the men 100 dash in a disappointing 10.04.

Facing -0.8m/s headwind, the Jamaican meet headliner was left gasping for an explanation for the pale performance that soiled his tag as ‘Lightning Bolt’ telling the media, “I had some very good starts on the warm-up track so I have no explanation. My coach will see the race on YouTube and will comment about what I must do before Rome.

“I had no feeling at all in the race, no feeling. I went out of the blocks badly and then nothing came. The false start did not affect me, that’s no excuse.”

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