Monday, 6 August 2012

Kenyan wins Gold in Olympics

By Fred Maingi

World 3000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi matched retired
Kenyan  legend Kipchoge Keino’s feat for a repeat Olympic win after
saving Kenya the blushes by winning the country’s first gold medal on
Sunday night in London.

Kemboi kept the Olympic 3000m Steeplechase title in Kenyan hands for
an eighth straight Kenya’s victory in the hurdle and water jump event
at the Games in a time of 8:18.16.

 Keino, the retired legend and chairman of National Olympics Committee
of Kenya (NOC-K) had been the only Kenyan who has repeated as Olympics
titleholder, having won the 1500m gold in Mexico 1968 before bagging
the 3000m steeple crown in Munich 1972.
Besides the Beijing champions, Kemboi, who led the Kenyan men 3000m
steeplechase sweep at the Athens Games in 2004 was the other seeking
to match Keino by securing the gold medal.

His personal collection now leads two Olympic and two world titles,
cementing his name in golden letters in the annals of Kenyan and
indeed steeplechase running legend.
Behind him in second place was Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhisi Benabbad
who repeated his Beijing performance in 8:19.08 to once again deny
Kenya a first podium sweep since 2004 as brave Africa champion Abel
Mutai etched his name in the podium light in 8:19.73.
Benabad becomes only the second two-time Olympic champion in the
event, after Finn Volmari Iso-Hollo took back-to-back titles in 1932
and 1936.

The ecstatic Kemboi first laid prostate at the London Olympic Stadium
track before waking up for another ‘Pamela Chepchumba’ jig and the
Usain Bolt arrow as he then jumped on to Frenchman Mekhisi Benabbad
topless whilst pumping his fists again in joy.

The final lap proved to be a four-way battle for the medals, between
Kemboi, Ethiopian Roba Gari, Mutai and Mekhissi-Benabbad, the 2008
silver medallist.

Kemboi broke away for good with about 200 metres remaining, with the
Frenchman mounting his final assault as he approached the final water
jump before finally moving into second with about 50 metres to go.
He didn’t however have enough in the tank to challenge Kemboi, who
cruised the final 20 metres with arms held high and running wide
across the track before crossing the line in lane eight.
Less than a minute later, he was already bare-chested at the side of
the track adding moves to the victory dance he made famous in Daegu.

Kipruto meanwhile fought back from his fall admirably, finishing fifth
in 8:23.03, just ahead of U.S. record holder Jager (8:23.87).
Julius Korir (1984), Julius Kariuki (1988), Matthew Birir (1992),
Joseph Keter (1996), Reuben Kosgei (2000), Kemboi (2004) and Brimin
Kipruto (2008) are responsible for the choke hold Kenyans have had on
the water and barriers race.
1 KEMBOI Ezekiel 8:18.56
2 MEKHISSI-BENABBAD Mahiedine 8:19.08
3 MUTAI Abel Kiprop 8:19.73
4 GARI Roba 8:20.00
5 KIPRUTO Brimin Kiprop 8:23.03
6 JAGER Evan 8:23.87
7 EZZINE Hamid 8:24.90
8 CABRAL Donald 8:25.91
9 AKDAG Tarik Langat 8:27.64
10 LUCHIANOV Ion 8:28.15

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