Athletics Athletics

Kemboi, Cheruiyot open golden account

 Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi wins the final of the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing on August 24, 2015. PHOTO/AFP
Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi wins the final of the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing on August 24, 2015. PHOTO/AFP

NAIROBI, August 24- At last, Kenya celebrated two gold medals inside 40 minutes through familiar gifted legs as Vivian Cheruiyot reclaimed the women 10,000m crown as Ezekiel Kemboi, made history by being the first quadruple men 3000m champion.

It was a sensational Day 3 evening for Kenya at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing after Cheruiyot used her famed finishing kick to outlast Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka to win back the 25-lap title she last held at the 2011 edition in Daegu in 31:41.31.

At the very next race, history was made when Kemboi led a Kenyan 1-2-3-4, a first for the proud nation in the biennial global showpiece with a devastating turn of pace in the last 300m to hold on to his title in 8:11.28.

Conseslus Kipruto (8:12.38) briefly threatened the master as they approched the final barrier but repeated his silver position from Moscow as 2007 Worlds and 2008 Olympics titleholder, Brimin Kipruto rounded the podium in 8:12.54.

IAAF Diamond League winner and leader, Jairus Birech who was earmarked as Kemboi’s chief threat took fourth in 8:12.62.

As expected Kenya dominated the water and barriers race, with Kemboi proving that he’s the consummate championship competitor.

After Conseslus towed the field through the first kilometre in 2:49.50 and then increased the pace slightly to reach 2000m in 5:36.77 – an honest pace but certainly not super-fast – the race started in earnest with two laps to go with most of the field still within striking distance.

Kipruto was joined at the front by the US hope and North American record holder Evan Jager and with 500 metes to go, the latter was to the fore and looking like he might lift the USA’s first medal ever at the event.

At the bell it was Jager and Kipruto, no relation to 2007 world champion Brimin Kipruto who was close behind, together but around the penultimate bend the American started to tire as the older Kipruto, Kemboi and 2015 world leader Jairus Birech moved up and then past Jager.

Midway down the back straight on the last lap, the quartet of Kenyans started to leave behind Jager and the rest of the field and now the question was, just who of this four was going to get which medal?

With 30 metres to go, it was Kemboi, at 33 the oldest man in the field, who again found a change of gear and he crossed the line in 8:11.28, before pointing at his head with both hands toi indicate that he was still the boss.

Conselsus Kipruto, still only 21, took his second successive silver medal in 8:12.38 while the ‘other’ Kipruto returned to the podium in third place.

The only slight surprise was that Birech, the fastest man in the world for the last two years and 2014 Diamond Race winner, was edged out of the medals but finishing fourth meant that not only had Kenya got a clean sweep of the medals for the third time ever in this event but they also filled the first four places, a feat only achieved twice before – by the USA in the 2005 men’s 200m and Ethiopia in the women’s 5000m the same year – in IAAF World Championships history.

-Cheruiyot quadruple-

Vivian Cheruiyot wins the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. PHOTO/IAAF/GettyImages

Vivian Cheruiyot wins the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. PHOTO/IAAF/GettyImages

It was also the fourth World Championships gold medal for the ‘Pocket Rocket’ Cheruiyot when she deployed her famed blasters to prevail over a pack of 10 on the last lap of the women’s 25-lap medal race.

Cheruiyot won the 5000m in Berlin in 2009, the 5000m and 10,000m double in Daegu in 2011 and was second and third in the 5000m and 10,000m in Daegu in 2011 before taking time out for the birth of her first son, Allan Kiprono.

Burka (31:41.77) took the silver with American Emily Infeld just pipping her devastated team-mate Molly Huddle for the bronze medal, 31:43.49 to 31:43.58.

With the absence of Tirunesh Dibaba, Cheruiyot’s limited racing in the build-up and Ethiopia fielding a relatively inexperienced trio at the distance, the 10,000m loomed as one of the most open events on the Beijing program. The heat and humidity, dictating a cautious early pace, further tightened the competition.

At half-way, reached in a fairly sedate 16:11.99 and led most of the way by Japanese pair Yuka Takashima and Rei Ohara, 24 of the 25 starters were still in one huge pack.

With two laps to go there were still 10 in the lead pack. At the bell in 30:40.53, Cheruiyot took the lead and although Burka moved with her, she defied every effort to get past her.

At the top of the straight a Cheruiyot win looked likely; 50 metres later it was assured, albeit only by three metres. Burka just could not get any closer.

-Material from IAAF used in this report


WOMEN 10,000M

1          560     Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot  KEN 31:41.31

2          338     Gelete Burka ETH   31:41.77

3          891     Emily Infeld  USA   31:43.49

4          890     Molly Huddle USA 31:43.58

5          566     Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego KEN       31:44.42 SB

6          880     Shalane Flanagan   USA    31:46.23

7          348     Alemitu Heroye ETH 31:49.73

8          573     Betsy Saina KEN 31:51.35 SB

9          349     Belaynesh Oljira ETH 31:53.01

10       618     Susan Kuijken NED 31:54.32


1          683     Ezekiel Kemboi KEN 8:11.28

2          690     Conseslus Kipruto KEN 8:12.38

3          689     Brimin Kiprop Kipruto KEN 8:12.54

4          680     Jairus Kipchoge Birech KEN 8:12.62

5          1027 Daniel Huling USA 8:14.39

6          1030 Evan Jager USA 8:15.47

7          742     Brahim Taleb MAR 8:17.73

8          312     Matthew Hughes CAN 8:18.63 SB

9          815     Krystian Zalewski POL 8:21.22   SB

10       1000 Donald Cabral USA  8:24.94