World champions Hellen Obiri and Elijah Manangoi led Kenyan 1-2 finishes in their respective events on the last day of track and field competition at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Saturday (14).
Obiri’s win in the 5000m broke the run of Ugandan dominance in flat distance events, following Joshua Cheptegei’s 5000m and 10,000m golds and Stella Chesang’s 10,000m title.
Taking control after a slow opening kilometre, Obiri and Kenyan teammate Margaret Kipkemboi gradually cranked up the pace with three successive kilometres at 2:59 pace.
By then it was clear Kenya would win; the only question was which one. Obiri answered the question emphatically with a flying final 200 metres in a tick over 30 seconds to win in 15:13.11.
Kipkemboi made it a 1-2 in 15:15.28 with England’s Laura Weightman overtaking Juliet Chekwel of Uganda on the final lap to take third in 15:25.84. It was the first time Uganda has been shut out of the medals in the four longest track distance races at the Games.
Luke Mathews led the 1500m final through a first lap of 60.95 but by the 800-metre point in 2:00.04, world silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot led teammates Manangoi and world U20 champion Kumari Taki.
The 52.07 final lap, though, was all Manangoi and Cheruiyot, who ultimately finished in the same order as in London. Manangoi took the gold in 3:34.78, Cheruiyot the silver in 3:35.17.
Several metres back, Scotland’s Jake Wightman won the battle for the bronze in 3:35.97. Among those to fall away on the final lap were Chris O’Hare, eighth, and Ryan Gregson, ninth. Mathews, for whom the 1500m was apparently a bridge too far after his 800m heroics, finished last.