Athletics Athletics

Ndiku mows Kemboi in Kenya steeple sweep


KEMBOI-DANCENAIROBI, Kenya, August 1- Jonathan Ndiku ended the dynasty of two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi to lead Kenya to a third podium sweep in the men’s 3000m steeple chase in a packed Hampden Park Stadium on Saturday in Glasgow.

Ndiku won in 8:10.44 ahead of Jairus Birech who settled for silver to give Kenya her sixth gold as three time World Champion Kemboi saw his dream signing off the Club Games in style cut off to settle for bronze.

Birech, who only needs a point to lift the coveted Diamond League Trophy after winning four meets, crossed the line second in 8:12.68

Kemboi came into the race as a winner of the last three Worlds and London Olympics but his famed last-lap heroics had no match for the World leader who has won on the spin in Rome, Laussane, the national championships in Nairobi to emerge as the undisputed force in the men’s water and barriers race.

Kenya has now collected the podium sweep in the women’s 10,000m, women steeple and now the men’s corresponding race in Glasgow to underline her supremacy as the dominant force in distance running.

Elsewhere, the quartet of Delhi 400m champion Mark Mutai, Solomon Bwoga, Nicholas Bett and Africa bronze medallist Boniface Mucheru were disqualified in the men’s 4x400m despite finishing second in the semi-finals.

Mutai who was stripped off his 400m title by Grenada’s Kirani James, started off the blocks to hand the button fourth to Bwoga who then passed to Bett who reduced the gap to third for Mucheru to close up and finish second only to learn the heart break later.

In the women’s category, the quartet of Jacinta Shikanda, Koki Manunga, Florence Wasike and Maureen Jelagat bowed out at the first hurdle after finishing fifth in a time of 3:37.45 as Jamaica, Australia and Trinidad and Tobago qualified automatically.

Meanwhile, 2010 silver medallist James Magut led compatriots World Junior record holder Ronald Kwemoi and Elijah Manangoi to men’s 1500m finals.

In the absence of two-time World Champion, Magut who comes from winning gold in the 4x1500m Bahamas World Championship, stormed the finals first after finishing third in 3:40.79.

Magut who ran from outside at the bell failed to catch up with New Zealand’s Nick Willis who finished first in 3:40.76 ahead of Australia’s Jeffrey Riseley.

Kwemoi who opened the gap in the last lap dominated the second semi-final after sprinting to cross the line first in 3:39.90 as Manangoi faded to sixth to sail through as the fastest loser in 3:41.63.