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Cheruiyot, Kiplagat sparkle in Rieti

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 10- Fresh from wrapping up Samsung Diamond League (SDL) titles, double World champion, Vivian Cheruiyot and Commonwealth titleholder, Silas Kiplagat sparkled at Sunday’s IAAF World Challenge meeting in Rieti.

A repeat of the women 5000m final at the Berlin and Daegu Worlds replayed in the 3000m race here when Cheruiyot out-paced compatriot Sylvia Kibet at the home stretch for victory with the clocks returning 8:49.17 against 8:49.38.

Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba (8:50.94) completed the podium in a race where Linet Masai, the 10000m World champion in 2009 who has been struggling with injury this season, failed to finish.

Kibet and Masai missed the London Olympics where Cheruiyot won bronze (10000m) and silver (5000m) as the ‘Pocket Rocket’ failed to find the formula to fashion a repeat of her double distance triumph last year.

Ethiopian pair, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar romped to the top medals in the longer and shorter events.

In the men’s metric mile, Kiplagat, a seventh finisher at the Olympics was once again on song, tearing away from compatriot Collins Cheboi to arrive at the finish in 3:31.86 as his post-London momentum continued.

Kiplagat and Cheboi who placed second in 3:33.97 were a stride apart at the bell but the Delhi winner and Worlds silver winner took off for the victory in the middle of the back straight to seal a comprehensive win with Qatar’s Mohammed Al Ghani (3:36.70) coming home to share the rostrum with the Kenyans.

Cheruiyot and Kiplagat won the Diamond Trophies 48 hours prior at the Brussels SDL final with Pamela Jelimo and Paul Kipsiele Koech completing the Kenyan collection at the $40,000 (Sh3.36m) jackpot circuit competition.

Milcah Chemos and Isaiah Kiplangat had sealed their victories a week earlier in Zurich.

In the women 800m, Winnie Chebet, set a lifetime best of 1:59.37 but it was only enough for third behind Burundi’s rising sensation, Francine Niyonsaba won her second high profile race in two days in 1:57.65 to comprehensively beat Olympics champion, Russia’s Mariya Savinova (1:59.18).

Edwin Kiplagat was no match for Olympic 1500m titleholder Taoufik Makhloufi in the corresponding men’s race.

Makhloufi fell 0.03 short of setting his two-lap career best with a 1:43.74 win where he stopped the hard chasing Kenyan a step to the line.

Kiplagat returned an impressive 1:43.81 after haring off after the Algerian on the homestretch.

In the men 3000m, Olympic champion, Ezekiel Kemboi and bronze winner, Thomas Longosiwa were stunned by Australia’s Collins Birmingham (7:37.77) and Robert Curtis of USA (7:43.65) who completed the race in the first two positions.

Kemboi the steeple gold medallist (7:44.24) was fifth while Longosiwa (7:49.19) returned seventh as World Youth champion; Conseslus Kipruto (7:44.09) nicked the last podium place.

Elsewhere, world marathon record holder, Patrick Makau ran 30:30 for tenth at the at the Mattoni Prague Grand Prix in the Czech Republic in a race won by compatriot Henry Kiplagat who breast the tape in 27:51.

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