NAIROBI, Kenya, July 27- In what is becoming a hallmark for Kenya at the Glasgow Games, Purity Cherotich Kirui unfurled a stunning victory over favoured world women steeplechase champion, Milcah Chemos, to be crowned her nation’s fifth Commonwealth titleholder on Wednesday night.
The 2012 World junior champion ended the reign of Chemos as Club Games champions at the Hamden Park Stadium in another gripping climax with the clocks returning 9:30.96 against 9:31.30 as Joan Kipkemoi held off Australians to complete the second Kenyan podium shut out in successive days in 9:31.30.
It was also the second medal sweep at the Commonwealth Games in succession.
In truth, Chemos came to Glasgow on the back of an underwhelming season after scorching the competition to bag gold at the Moscow Worlds last summer but nothing should be taken away from Cherotich’s crowning moment in Glasgow.
In fact, her win over the 2010 African champion and IAAF Diamond League winner echoed Chemos’s own victory over Mercy Njoroge at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 that was decided after the final barrier on the homestretch.
The Kenyan trio shook off the competition at the bell to chase the medals with Cherotich, a world junior champion from Barcelona in 2012 and Chemos, came here on a wildcard went over the last hurdle vest-to-vest.
With 50m to the gold medal, the pair went stride for stride, with Chemos, 28, on the outside with the national champion, 22, on the inside, in a contest to the very last, seasoned defending champion not giving up without a monumental fight; taking it to the challenger with the zest of a winner.
Her determination and soaring reputation would have crushed any other but Kirui, with younger and fresher legs, found the extra gear and resolve over the last 20m to claim the glory.
It was her first senior title for her country as she became the third former World Juniors champion after Caleb Mwangangi (2010) and Faith Chepng’etich (2012) to bag Commonwealth gold in Glasgow.
Kipkemoi had to fend off the fast finishing Australian pair of Madeline Heiner and Genevieve Lacaze who timed 9:34.01 and 9:44.65, for bronze, only a second second ahead of the fourth finisher.
In Delhi, Chemos led Njoroge and Gladys Kipkemoi to the podium sweep as Kenyan became the first nation to repeat a medal sweep at the women’s water and barriers race at the Commonwealth.
On Tuesday, Joyce Chepkirui prevailed over hot favourite Florence Kiplagat as Emily Chebet came home for bronze in the women 10,000m for Kenya’s first podium shut-out at Hampden Park.