Gilbert Kiprotich in Rabat, Morocco
Ethiopians carried the day in the men’s 10,000m final held Tuesday as Kenya missed out on the podium at the ongoing African Games here in Rabat, Morocco.
It was the trio of the Olympic Silver medalist Paul Tanui, Charles Yosei Mneria and fromer Olympic bronze medalist Ewin Soi who donned the Kenyan colours in the race.
While Soi came home fourth, Tanui and Mneria dropped out of the race as injuries continue to plague Kenya’s camp.
Ethiopia’s Berehanu Tsegu was the hero as his last lap masterclass earned him a gold medal after crossing the finish line in 27:56.81 ahead of Eritrean Ann Teklu who clocked 27:51.79 to settle for silver as another Ethiopian Jemale Mekonnen placing third in 27:59.02.
Soi who was the only Kenyan left in the race after his compatriots dropped out came home fourth in 28:05.70, a performance he said he was ‘proud of’ despite failing to clinch a medal.
“I think I am proud of what I have done today because I was also fatigued going to the race as we just competed last week at the national championships back in Kenya and we have had a few days to recover without including the travelling,” said Soi.
Although he started the race brightly leading in the opening laps, Tanui dropped out into seven laps of the race as he had started limping and consequently fell from the leading pack later revealing he had pulled his right leg muscle.
“I was well until I had a discomfort in my leg while in the race. I did not have any problem before even during my warm up session I had had no difficulty. I now have to go and assess how it goes,” he said.
Mneria later pulled out after 10 laps revealing that he was not felling well prior to the race.
“I am unwell, I contracted malaria four days ago and I didn’t even want to compete, it was only my compatriots who urged me to come and try out but I could not sustain and that is why I had to drop out,” said Mneria.
It was a difficult day for Kenya as Maximila Imali finished seventh in the women’s 100m final while Kenya’s hope of bagging a medal in the field events also proving elusive as the pair of Isaac Kirwa and Wilfred Kimitei ranked ninth and 14th respectively in the final.
Similarly, the women’s Hammer throwing, Roseline Nyanchama and Lucy Anyango finished placed 14th and 15th respectively.
Elsewhere, Alphas Kishoiyan and Mary Moraa qualified for tomorrow’s final in the men’s and women’s 400m after they both finished second in their respective semi finals.
Abel Kipsang, Cornelius Tuwei and Nicholas Kiplangat all made it to the finals of men’s 800m also scheduled for tomorrow.
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