NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9- For the first time in five editions, Kenya failed to win the gold medal in the 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games as Uganda’s Stella Chesang steamed away from Stacy Ndiwa to clinch the 2018 title in Gold Coast, Australia on Monday.
The last time Kenya failed to stand on the highest podium for gold was in 1994 when Jane Omoro came in third for bronze.
All the consecutive gold medals since then have been won by Kenyans with Esther Wanjiru winning in 1998, Selina Kosgei in 2002, Lucy Kabuu in 2006, Grace Momanyi in 2010 and Joyce Chepkirui in 2014.
Chesang put on the afterburners at the bell with Ndiwa having controlled the race from the beginning and the Ugandan seemed to have reserved enough energy to take her through unchallenged in the final 400m.
She timed 31:45:30 ahead of Ndiwa who picked a personal best time of 31:46.36. Mercyline Chelangat ensured there would be two Ugandans on the podium as she waded off Kenya’s Beatrice Mutai in a sprint finish to claim bronze in 31:48.41.
The other Kenyan Sandrafelis Chebet could not weather the fast pace in the final three laps as she came in 10th, but it was enough to hand her a personal best time of 32:11.92.
The entire group was still well packed in together but after 10 laps, it started to break off with the three Kenyans taking control of the tempo.
All this while, the Ugandans were lurking behind and just like predators waiting for the opportune time to strike.
With five laps to go, Chesang showed her intent springing to the front joining Ndiwa as the two kick up the pace. With three to go, Sandrafelis dropped off the pace as Ndiwa and Chesang led from the front, Mutai kicking behind them.
Australian Celia Sullohern, roared on by the full to capacity stadium tried to slot herself into the leading pack, but the burning pace was too hot for her seeing her drop off.
Chesang put on the afterburners with 300m left, Ndiwa trying but in vain to catch her.
This is Uganda’s second gold medal in Gold Coast after Joshua Cheptegei claimed the first on Sunday with victory in the 5,000m where once again, Kenya claimed only one medal, teenager Edward Zakayo coming in third for bronze.