Former Olympic 800m Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo bounced back to winning ways at the ISTAF Grand Prix meeting in the Berlin Olympic Stadium on Sunday. Jelimo, who clocked 1:58.68, however was pushed hard by Africa champion Francine Niyonsaba, of Burundi who clocked 1:58.68. They were followed by Ethiopian Abeba Aregawi (1:59.39). Another Kenyan Winny Chebet finished eighth in 2:01.45.
Jelimo was delighted with the victory after losing out in Birmingham last weekend. ” I expected to run 1:56, but maybe my body was not ready or too tired,” Jelimo said. The Beijing Olympics champion, who will be aiming to win the Samsung Diamond League in Brussels later this week, won in Lausanne (1:57.59) beatingr Mariya Savinova who succeeded her as Olympics champion on August 23 before the Russian turned tables on the Kenyan in Birmingham three days later.
Ethiopian Sofia Assefa whose disqualification from Thursday’s race in Zurich denied her the Diamond win, ran 9:21.64 in the 3000m steeplechase to deny Lydia Chepkurui (Kenya/9:22.27). Hiwot Ayalew (Ethiopia) was third with 9:25.29. In a close race four Kenyans clocked sub 3:34 times in the 1,500m. Nixon Chepseba won with 3:33.11 from Bethwell Birgen (3:33.41), Caleb Ndiku (3:33.43) and Collins Cheboi (3:33.58).
Three days after beating Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha in Zurich Mohammed Aman took another victory. This time the opposition was less strong, but it was not a slow race. The Ethiopian clocked 1:43.62, beating Kenyan Edwin Melly (1:44.36) and Dane Andreas Bube (1:45.12), who ran a strong final 200ms. Another Kenyan Leonard Kosencha finished fourth in 1:45.18.
Elsewhere Ezekiel Chebii shattered the course record at the Lille Half Marathon on Saturday. The 21-year-old Kenyan clocked an impressive 59:05, well under the previous course mark of 59:36 set by Ethiopian Tilahun Regassa in 2008. It was also a marked improvement over the distance for Chebii whose previous best was 59:22 from the Berlin Half Marathon in April.
Kenyan Bernard Koech was second in 59:10, a personal best, but he was overshadowed by the third place finisher, track standout Eliud Kipchoge who made his debut over the distance. The 27-year-old, who won the world 5,000m title in 2003 and took world and Olympic silver over the same distance in 2007 and 2008, respectively, clocked an impressive 59:25.
It was the second fastest Half Marathon debut ever, behind only Moses Mosop’s 59:20 in Milan in 2010. In the women’s race, Filomena Chepchirchir clocked a 1:08:06 personal to lead the first five finishers under 1:09. Diane Chepkemoi was second in 1:08:08 ahead of debutante Priscah Jepleting’s 1:08:35.
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