Chepng’etich, Kwemoi shine in Prefontaine

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By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya’s Olympic 1,500m gold medallist Faith Chepng’etich and Commonwealth 1,500m bronze medallist Ronald Kwemoi upheld their unbeaten runs to win their respective races at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, US on Saturday.

It was a night that saw Kenya’s Olympic 800m Margaret Nyairera just falling short of beating World and Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya after a strong challenge in the women’s 800m race.

Olympic and World 10,000m and 5,000m champion Mo Farah upheld his reign to win the men’s 5,000m race, as World 10,000m silver medallist Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor settled for third.

Chepng’etich followed up her victory in Shanghai with another dominant performance where she produced a huge kick to outwork the rest of the women’s 1,500m field in 3:59.67, running sub-4 for the second time this season.

Chepng’etich, who won in Shanghai in a world lead time of 3:59.22, edged out Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri, who beat Briton Laura Muir on the line for second place. Obiri, the winner of the 5,000m race in Shanghai, timed 4:00.46 against Muir’s 4:00.47.

And for the grand finale, Kwemoi, who won the 3,000m race in Doha, claimed his maiden Bowerman Mile victory, outlasting a tremendous field to win 3:49.04, beating compatriot and World 1,500m silver medallist Elijah Managoi to second in 3:49.08.

Ronald Kwemoi (left) wins the Bowerman Mile at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Eugene on May 28, 2017. PHOTO | KIRBY LEE |

Ronald Kwemoi (left) wins the Bowerman Mile at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Eugene on May 28, 2017. PHOTO | KIRBY LEE |IAAF

Timothy Cheruiyot completed a clean sweep for Kenya in 3:49.64, in a race where World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop finished last in 3:59.24.

A relaxed Semenya had to step on the gas pedal with a burst of speed to wade off Nyairera in 1:57.78 against the Kenyan’s time of 1:57.88.

Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi was third in 1:59.10.

Farah used his patented kick to edge the field, nearly eclipsing the 13-minute mark with a 13:00.70 time. Farah, challenged for much of the race by a strong contingent of competition, flew over the final 400 meters to show he’s still the King of distance running.

Former World Under-20 10,000m champion Yomif Kejelcha from Ethiopia ease off to second in 13:01.21 with Kamworor, the World Half Marathon and World Cross Country champion coming in next in 13:01.35.

On Friday, Kenya’s World Under18 and Under-20 champion Celliphine Chespol ran the second fastest time in 3,000m steeplechase when she won in 8:58.78. The time was also a National and World Under-20 record.

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