NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6- Edna Kiplagat’s mission to become the first athlete to win three marathon world titles was foiled after the Kenyan settled for silver behind gold medallist Kenyan-born Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo at the IAAF London World Championships on Sunday.
Kiplagat, 37, who has two world titles won in 2011 and 2013, was poised for the history when she took the lead towards home stretch but with 2 kilometres to the tape, Chelimo won back the lead to claim gold in a season best of 2:27:11.
Kiplagat had to share a season best time of 2:27:18 with bronze medallist Amy Cragg who became the first American athlete to win a medal in this event since 1983.
The waiting game played to perfection by Chelimo worked in her favour as she outpaced the former compatriot Kiplagat to enter into history books as the first Bahraini to win gold in the women’s marathon world title.
With the leading pack of nine hanging together up to 40 kilometres, Chelimo drove the pace to leave the bronze medal competition heating up between Kenyan Flomena Daniel Cheyech the Commonwealth champion and Cragg.
Cheyech eventually finished fourth with 2:27:21 while Hellah Jelagat Kiprop, who won silver at the 2015 edition in Beijing, China, faded to seventh in a time of 2:28:19.
Catarina Ribeiro, 23, made a unique and bold decision to open up the lead within10 minutes of the race, maintaining a gap of atleast 200 metres from the rest of the pack.
20 minutes into the race, Ribeiro was still in a solo lead ahead of the mass of runners cruising behind her, with Kiplagat leading the pack.
After 30 minutes, Ribeiro was still holding the lead but, the lead was gradually diminished with the main field led by Ribeiro’s Portugal compatriot Filomena Costa.
In the 39th minute, Ribeiro lost her lead for the first time as Britain’s Alyson Dixon became the new leader of the race.
Home favourite Dixon is stretched her lead with the home-crowd rallying behind the runner as Ribeiro has slipped down to 41st after 15 kilometres.
Home runner 38-year-old Dixon managed to maintain the tempo and stretch the lead over the group to a healthy 25 seconds.
At the half-way mark, Dixon even extended the lead further to 32 seconds with the big names in the pack slowly covering lost ground and catching up with Britain runner.
Kiplagat and Cragg were breathing down the neck of the Briton with 13 chasers who were waiting for physical exhaustion to get the better of Sunderland athlete and claim the lead from the 38-year-old.
In the last leg of the women’s marathon, Dixon finally droped out of the pack as Australia’s Trengove wrenched a slender lead. But Chelimo decided to open up the race followed by the Kenyan trio of Kiplagat, Cheyech and Kiprop as well as Kenyan-born Bahraini Eunice Kirwa, the Olympic silver medallist hanging on.
However, it was left a two-horse race when Kiplagat caught up with leading Chelimo but the Kenyan was out of gas to allow the Bahraini to overtake her with 2 miles to go and run away to win gold.