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Kiplagat’s epic gives Kenya golden start

EDNA-KIPLAGATNAIROBI, Kenya, August 10- Edna Kiplagat made history in Moscow to give Kenya a flying start when she became the first woman to retain the women’s marathon world title in 2:25:44 as action got underway at the 14th edition of the global showpiece on Saturday.

Kiplagat, 32, who failed to add the Olympics crown to the world title she won in Daegu last year, was involved in a titanic battle with Italian Valeria Straneo who led the race from 5km until the last two when the Kenyan surged ahead and sped off to her second crown at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Her epic victory reverberated to her home in Iten where a crowd had gathered to cheer on their local hero led by husband and coach, Gilbert Koech, who did not travel with her to Russia after he was denied accreditation.

“We are so happy, we shall party so hard, her hard work has paid off, God has brought what we did not win in London, I’m so proud of her, let the party begin,” Koech, a former Las Vegas and San Antonio marathon champion who shelved his career to coach his wife in 2009 told Capital Sport.

“There are so many people at our home and for her to do what she has done considering it was very tough against her (Straneo) brings us so much joy,” a relieved Koech, who like the entire watching world sat glued as the gold and silver winner engaged in a battle of wits to the end added.

Straneo, who won the second medal in 2:25:58, moved to the lead by 5km and led through to 40km (2:18:22) when Kiplagat pulled alongside and moved to the lead after shadowing the Italian from the halfway mark to that point.

It was still up in the air until a kilometre later when another surge from Kiplagat failed to elicit a response from the Italian allowing the runner-up at this year’s London Marathon to enter the Luzhniki for what was a victorious lap of honour and a date with history books.

She becomes the second Kenyan female athlete after Catherine Ndereba (2003 and 2007) to win the women’s marathon world title twice.

Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi (2:27:45) came for bronze ahead of compatriot Ryoko Kizaki (2:31:28) as the Asian nation enjoyed a strong performance in the event.

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Earlier in the men 800m heats, Jeremiah Mutai (1:50.17) took the undesired honour as the first Kenyan to crash out of Moscow 2013 after he finished a disappointing seventh in the fourth preliminary.

Teammates, Olympics semifinalist, Anthony Chemut and Ferguson Rotich navigated through to the semis by finishing second, with the latter coming behind Ethiopia’s front runner, World Indoor champion, Mohammed Aman.

1 Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat KEN 2:25:44
2 Valeria Straneo ITA 2:25:58 SB
3 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 2:27:45
4 Ryoko Kizaki JPN 2:31:28
5 Alessandra Aguilar ESP 2:32:38
6 Emma Quaglia ITA 2:34:16 SB
7 Madaí Pérez MEX 2:34:23 SB
8 Hye-Gyong Kim PRK 2:35:49
9 Deena Kastor USA 2:36:12 SB

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