MARAKKECH, Aug14 – Prague Half Marathon winner Joyce Chepkirui added the continental crown to her 10,000m Commonwealth gold as Worlds 800m Eunice Sum and two-time Worlds 1,500m Asbel Kiprop cruised to finals at the penultimate day of the 19th Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Morocco Wednesday night.
Chepkirui, the African Cross champion outsmarted Club Games bronze medallist Emily Chebet to take the honour in 32:45.27 just a second ahead of the two time World Cross winner in a photo finish as Ethiopian Belaynesh Oljira settled for bronze in 32:49.39.
World Half Marathon record holder and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Florence Kiplagat withdrew to see Kenya miss the probable podium sweep just as they did in Glasgow.
The women’s 800m saw Sum stay on track to win her third successive major title after already having the Worlds and Commonwealth, when she easily cruised from semi-final 1 in 2:02.43 ahead of Ethiopian Melese Goshu.
Her mentor joined moments later after the veteran finished second in 2:01.13 to book the automatic slot behind Assefa Tessema of Ethiopia who clocked 2:00.94.
Agatha Jeruto was the last Kenyan to qualify after crossing the line first in the third semi-final in a time of 1:59.88 which was the fastest race of the day.
Kiprop who missed the Glasgow Commonwealth Games showed his intent of reclaiming the title he last won four years ago in Nairobi after storming the finals in 3:43.87 with compatriot Ronald Kipkemboi following in second to qualify automatically six seconds later.
James Magut fresh from winning the Club Games also sailed through after finishing third in 3:54.99 to see the Kenyans battle it out to retain the title that was won by Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku who shifted to 5,000m.
USA based Calvin Nkanata will be the only country’s representative in the men’s 200m final after clocking 20.47 to finish first ahead of Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru.
In the women’s category, national champion Millicent Ndoro and Mukoswa Safina crashed out in the semi-finals.
Francisca Koki stormed the women’s 400m hurdles finals in style after setting a new Kenyan record of 55.93 behind South African Wenda Theron.
The African junior silver medallist who is the only Kenyan hurdler left in the competition after Maureen Wasike bowed out will be seeking to win her maiden senior title in the event.
Curtains come down Thursday night with Kenya expecting to win gold in women’s 800m, 3000m steeple chase, and men’s 1,500m as well as 5,000m not ruling out the men’s 200m finals and women’s 400m hurdles.
Women’s 10,000m results.
1. Joyce CHEPKIRUI KEN 32:45.27
2. Emily CHEBET KEN 32:45.28
3. Belaynesh OLJIRA ETH 32:49.39
4. Genet YALEW ETH 32:52.46
5. Tegest ABAYECHEWE ETH 34:21.12