Kirui gives Kenya gold in men’s marathon at worlds

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ge­of­frey Kirui gave Kenya a record fifth men’s marathon ti­tle at the world cham­pi­onships yes­ter­day, win­ning a see­saw race with Tami­rat Tola of Ethiopia that fin­ished on Lon­don’s famed Tower Bridge.

Kirui had to come from be­hind to pass Tola in the fi­nal quar­ter of the race. And once he got through the wind­ing streets of Lon­don, Kirui found the way clear for a vic­to­ri­ous run along the River Thames over the last miles. Kirui won in 2 hours, 8 min­utes, 27 sec­onds, cre­at­ing such a gap over Tola that he had time to slap the out­stretched hands of fans in the fin­ish­ing straight be­fore cross­ing the line. Tola weak­ened at the end and just held off bronze medal­ist Alphonce Simbu of Tan­za­nia at the end.

Tola first shook off Kirui about three-quar­ters through the race but over­es­ti­mated his strength. Slowly, the Kenyan came back and took over the lead by the 35-kilo­me­ter mark. “I feared the Ethiopian be­cause he had such a fast time, so I just fol­lowed my plan to 35K and then felt my body to see how I was do­ing,” Kirui said. “Good for me it re­sponded well.” Kirui, who won the Bos­ton Marathon in April, got his na­tion its first men’s marathon ti­tle since 2011.


In the Olympic Sta­dium, Nafi Thiam ex­tended her lead with a strong show­ing in the javelin, the penul­ti­mate event in the hep­tathlon. With only the 800-me­ter race to go later, the Olympic cham­pion has 5,980 points, 172 more than Carolin Schaefer of Ger­many.

If Thiam gets around the two laps of the track with­out a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent, she should be able to add the world ti­tle to her Olympic gold. Anouk Vet­ter of the Nether­lands set a huge javelin mark of 58.41 me­ters to move into bronze medal po­si­tion over­all. Thiam was sec­ond with a throw of 53.93.

In the men’s 110-me­ter hur­dles, medal con­tender Ron­ald Levy of Ja­maica failed to make it into the semi­fi­nals after clip­ping the first hurdle with his trail­ing leg.

Aries Mer­ritt of the United States, who won the Olympic ti­tle in Lon­don five years ago, eas­ily went through with a top time of 13.16 sec­onds, .07 sec­onds ahead of reign­ing Olympic cham­pion Omar McLeod of Ja­maica.

Other fi­nals yes­ter­day are the women’s marathon, 100 me­ters and pole vault, and the men’s shot put.

After the Amer­i­cans went 1-2 in the men’s 100 me­ters with Justin Gatlin tak­ing gold and re­duc­ing Usain Bolt to bronze, Olympic cham­pion Elaine Thomp­son will be seek­ing to get one back for Ja­maica. Tori Bowie leads the US chal­lenge.

The US team could well win more medals with Ryan Crouser fa­vored to add the world ti­tle to his Olympic shot put gold.

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