World Athletics: Kenya’s Kirui men’s marathon title

September 4th, 2011 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Daegu (South Korea), Sep 4 (IANS) Kenyan runner Abel Kirui retained his world title in the men’s marathon here Sunday after finishing the 42.195-kilometer race in two hours, seven minutes and 38 seconds.

“It is a very special moment for me to win the second world title. It is a good sign before the Olympic Games,” Kirui was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

His fellow Kenyan Vincent Kipruto, a newcomer to the world championships, crossed the line second 2:28 minutes behind, which is the biggest margin in the World Championships history.

Ethiopia’s debutant Feyisa Lilesa, losing the silver medal battle in the final 1km, prevented a Kenyan medal sweep by taking the bronze medal in 2:10:32.

The first final in Daegu last Saturday had seen the Kenyan women making the first ever marathon medal sweep in the Championships history.

Kirui pulled away early from a leading pack of three Kenyans and one Ethiopian after the halfway mark and ran all the way alone to finish home with his seasonal best time.

“Compared to Berlin, it was very similar race but it was getting very hot in the end,” he said. “I am happy we managed to win the long distance races in Korea. Kenyans were runing well and that gives me a lot of motivation for the next races.”

Kipruto, the world’s third fastest man this year, who clocked 2:05:33 when finishing runner up at the Rotterdam Marathon in April, said he was happy to secure a 1-2 finish for Kenya.

“I was ready for the final kick, I tried to increase the pace progressively and I left Lilesa behind me,” said the 23-year-old. “Our country should be proud of our success.”

“I think I can run even better than this and I hope to do something good in the Olympics,” he added.

Lilesa, 21, noted that the weather condition was very difficult for him.

With the two medals, Kenya has temporarily moved to the second place in the tally with 16 medals in total while their previous best in the championships was 13 in Osaka 2007.

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