Kamworor defends, Jepchirchir seals clean sweep

Kamworor defends, Jepchirchir seals clean sweep

Kenya ruled again when Geoffrey Kamworor successfully defended his men’s title as Peres Jechirchir led Cynthia Limo and Mary Wacera to the clean sweep of the medals in the corresponding women’s race at Saturday’s 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales.

It was near disaster when Kamworor, who was wearing bib number 559, fell on both knees at the start, losing his cap but having been sportingly picked up by an Ethiopian, the quickly rejoined the leading pack before powering away in the latter stages of the race to win in 59:09 – just one second slower than his winning time in Copenhagen two years ago.

And just as it was at last year’s World Cross in Guiyang, China, teammate Bedan Karoki came for silver in his first defeat at the distance clocking 59:36.

Behind the dominant duo who ran the race almost unchallenged over the last six kilometres, even engaging in conversation as the rain started pouring in the Welsh capital, a great battle for third between Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola, countryman Abayneh Ayele, home favourite Mo Farah and Simon Cheprot was developing.

In the end, the double Olympics and Worlds distance track champion took the third medal in a final sprint off Ayele with both timed 59:59.

“It feels great to be world champion. I’m delighted Kenya took the first 3 places. I want to run the 10,000m in Rio,” Kamworor said after the race after becoming only the third man in history to defend the World Half crown with both of knees bloodied from his fall.

“I said to myself after the start ‘I am not going to give up,” the World Cross champion added on his near catastrophic fall.

“It was a great support from the home crowd, so it would have been nice to get the win,” Farah offered on his bronze having never been a factor in the race for the title as Kamworor and Karoki turned tables on him following his victory at the Beijing’s Worlds last summer.

He nonetheless enjoyed another milestone as the second Briton behind Carl Thackery to get a medal at World Half as Kenya took the team gold ahead of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In the women’s race Jepchirir took off from favorite Limo on the final hill to clinch her first world title in 1:07:31 with Limo three seconds in arrears as Wacera held off the challenge of Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta (1:08:46) to seal the podium shut out in 1:07:54.

“To run through Cardiff was really good, the only problem was the wind, but it was still fun,” Ngugi, the bronze winner said after winning her nation a first international medal.

Before 2014, no country had swept the medals in the women’s race. Kenya has now done it twice in a row with the other runners from the red, green and black Gladys Chesire (1:08:46), Pascalia Chepkorir (1:09:44) finishing in sixth and seventh in an all round commanding performance.

Without doubt Kenya took the team title ahead of Ethiopia with Japan winning a ninth successive bronze medal.

Leading results

Men

  1. Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor KEN 59:10 SB
  2. Bedan Karoki Muchiri KEN 59:36 SB
  3. Mohamed Farah GBR 59:59 SB
  4. Abayneh Ayele ETH 59:59 PB
  5. Tamirat Tola ETH 1:00:06 PB
  6. Simon Cheprot KEN 1:00:12 SB
  7. Abrar Osman ERI 1:00:58 SB
  8. Mule Wasihun ETH 1:01:11SB
  9. Edwin Kiprop Kiptoo KEN 1:01:21
  10. Stephen Mokoka RSA 1:01:27 SB

Women

  1. Peres Jechirchir KEN 1:07:31
  2. Cynthia Jerotich Limo KEN 1:07:34
  3. Mary Wacera Ngugi KEN 1:07:54
  4. Netsanet Gudeta ETH 1:08:01 SB
  5. Genet Yalew ETH 1:08:15
  6. Gladys Chesire Kiptagelai KEN 1:08:46
  7. Pascalia Chepkorir Kipkoech KEN 1:09:44 SB
  8. Dehininet Demsew ETH 1:10:13 PB
  9. Gladys Tejeda PER 1:10:14 AR
  10. Yuka Ando JPN 1:10:34