DAEGU, South Korea, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) — Kenya women demonstrated their outstanding talent in distance running by making a clean sweep of medals in marathon and 10,000 meters races here at day one of the World Championships.
The first final in Daegu saw the Kenyans making the first marathon medal sweep in the Worlds history with Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat on top at 2:28.43 on Saturday morning. The victory made the 31-year-old runner the second Kenyan woman after Catherine Ndereba to win the world marathon title.
Priscah Jeptoo took the silver, 17 seconds behind Kiplagat. Sharon Jemutai Cherop finished third with a personal season best of 2:29.14.
The three Kenyan runners began their collective hunt for the medals after running 35 kilometers in a leading bunch, and since that they continued their lead all the way to the finish line.
For Kenya, the women’s marathon was the one women’s distance event missing in Berlin two years ago. Vivian Cheruiyot won the 5,000 meters, Linet Masai the 10,000m, but no one finished in the top 10 in marathon.
Cheruiyot, the defending champion of 5,000m, took the first step in her bid for a double in Daegu as she emulated Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba in winning the gold medal at the world championships 10,000m in the same year as her debut at the distance.
The 27-year-old runner claimed the title with a personal best of 30:48.98, and was followed by her three teammates.
The season leader Sally Kipyego finished second in 30:50.04 and defending champion Linet Chepkwemoi Masai came third in 30:53.59. Priscah Jepleting Cherono overcame Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu to finish fourth with a personal best of 30:56.43.
Melkamu, always a contender but never a senior winner in the big races, finished less than a step behind Cherono in 30:56.55. Masai had exchanged words with her during the race when the Ethiopian got too close.
The world’s fastest man and global sport’s most marketable star Usain Bolt made his first heat run in the men’s 100m amid cheers and clapping. The reigning world and Olympic champion and world record holder easily topped the first round, clocking 10.10 seconds, two hundredths of a second ahead of his Jamaica teammate Yohan Blake.
The 100m final is to take place on Sunday night as almost people around the world expect Bolt to retain his title, since arch-rivals Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay had both pulled out of the Championships due to injuries.
However, the opening day saw two early exits of Olympic champions.
Australia’s Steve Hooker saw his hopes of a second successive pole vault gold medal quickly disappear when failing to make a height in his qualifying round.
Hooker, who made a late start to his summer season after undergoing extensive treatment for an injury to his left knee which affected his take-off leg, failed to clear his opening height of 5.50m.
The reigning Olympic and worlds champion was visibly having technical problems. On each of his three attempts he hesitated and then ground to a halt after his run-up instead of going into the second phase of his technique.
Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu was disqualified from the women’s 400m heats due to a false start.
The 27-year-old sprinter triumphed at the Olympic Games three years ago in 49.62 seconds, but came to Daegu with a poor season best of 51.49 seconds.
Another Australian Dani Samuels, a surprise winner two years ago, only narrowly advanced in the women’s discus throw while Kenya’s world record holder David Rudisha safely went through in the men’s 800m event.
The nine-day World Championships, featuring a record 1,945 athletes from 202 countries and regions, officially opened here Saturday night at the 66,422-seat Daegu Stadium.