Kirwa and Chesir Continue kenyan Dominance at Singapore Marathon

Kirwa

Felix Kiptoo Kirwa and fellow Kenyan Rebecca Kangogo Chesir took top honours at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (4).

In what was expected to be a battle among experienced marathon runners, Kirwa waited until the closing stages to make his move and pull off a surprise victory.

With the start time having moved to 4:30am to avoid the highest temperatures of the day, the race started at a conservative pace as a large lead pack went through 5km in 16:05, 10km in 32:30 and 15km in 48:28.

Fifteen men – including Kirwa, two-time Singapore champion Kenneth Mungara, 2012 Singapore winner Kennedy Lilan – were still in contention as half way was reached in 1:09:24, making it clear that the course record of 2:11:25 would survive another year.

During the course of the following 10 kilometres, with 30km being passed in 1:39:00, the lead group had been whittled down to 10. The field continued to gradually reduce as the pace started to pick up during the closing stages.

Lilan was among the three men to drift off the pack before the 35km mark, leaving Kirwa, Mungara, Paul Kangogo, David Kipkorir, Robert Kiplimo and Luka Chelimo out in front. With just a few kilometres remaining, only Kangogo, Kirwa and Kipkorir remained in the lead pack and it became apparent that the race would go down to the wire.

Kirwa, brother of Olympic marathon silver medallist Eunice Kirwa, proved to have the strongest finish as he sprinted away from Kangogo to cross the line in 2:17:17, three seconds ahead of his compatriot. Kipkorir finished third in 2:17:32 while Mungara was fourth, a further minute behind the leading trio.

Black Queens stage stunning fight-back to down Harambee Starlets

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The national women's football team fell 3-1 to the Black Queens of Ghana in their opening match of the Africa Women's Cup of Nations at the Stade de Limbe in Cameroon on Sunday.

Esse Akida gave Kenya the lead with a stunning volley in the 23rd minute before second half goals from Suleman Samira, Elizabeth Addo, Boakye Portia ensured the Black Queens grab the three points to run out victors in the match.

Starlets, making their first ever appearance at the Women's Cup of Nations, found themselves on the back-foot early on as Ghana launched a tirade of attacks in the early spell of the match before Akida struck to give the Kenyans a shock lead. Akida's goal was Kenya's first ever goal at the Cup of Nations.

Starlets coach David Ouma started with the same line up that did duty and won 1-0 against Egypt in a friendly match on October 28, starting with Mary KInuthia, Akida and Christine Nafula upfront, while relying on the defensive quartet of Ann Aluoch, Dorcas Shikobe, Elizabeth Ambogo and Wendy Achieng at the back.

Akida and Ambogo were outstanding throughout the match, but it is Ghana's Addo who tormented the Starlets for 90 minutes.

Akida's goal acted as a stern wake up call for the Black Queens who have vast experience on the continental front but the Starlets held on to head to the break leading 1-0.

Harambee Stars extended their unbeaten run to eight matches

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Greek based midfielder Paul Were scored the only goal of the match at the 51st minute to bring to a total of eight matches in which stars have gone undefeated.

Harambee Stars dominated the match throughout the entire session and could have gone ahead on the eleventh minute when they lost a series of opportunities.

On the 18th minute Michael Olunga failed to change the scoring, after failing to make use of a perfect cross by Ayub Timbe.

Six minutes after the second half kick-off, Erick Johanna’s through ball to Paul Were changed the scoring to one nil.

It was also a good result for Stanley Okumbi who has not registered a loss for the stars since taking reigns as the teams head coach in February of this year.

The Kenyan side had recorded a similar results against Mozambique in an international friendly on Saturday barely 5 days ago when Eric Johanna scored the lone goal.

CHEYECH RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS IN SAITAMA

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A four-woman race after just a kilometre, by the halfway point it was down to a duel. Not long after that, Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech Daniel was cruising all alone to victory in the Saitama International Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (13).

Cheyech pulled away from an ailing Ethiopian Amane Gobena after 25 kilometres to win in a race record of 2:23:18 for her sixth career title and first in Japan, where she spent four years from 2007 running for the Uniqlo corporate team.

“Today I’m very happy to win here as Japan is my second home,” said the 34-year-old Cheyech.

Gobena, affected by an upset stomach, held on to finish second in 2:25:58 in the second edition of the race in this city 30 kilometres northwest of Tokyo. Kenya’s Monica Jepkoech was third in 2:28:56 and Ethiopian Atsede Habtamu fourth in 2:29:44.

Mizuho Nasukawa was the top finisher among a thin Japanese contingent, winning a last-stretch dash with Australia’s Cassie Fien for fifth place in 2:33:16, a time that will hardly be good enough to earn a place on Japan’s team for the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

For Cheyech, the victory ended a marathon title drought dating back to her gold-medal run at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Her winning time was also the fastest since she posted her personal best of 2:22:44 in winning the Paris Marathon that same year.

“I have not won a marathon and not run such a time [for a while], so I’m very happy,” said Cheyech, who finished fifth in Tokyo and second in Amsterdam in 2015, and sixth in Boston earlier this year. “I prepared for this race for about five months.”

After Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa won last year’s inaugural race in 2:25:44, organisers tweaked the course to eliminate some of the tougher hills. But they left enough to Cheyech’s liking.

“This course was very nice,” she said. “As I’m used to when I train in Kenya, we always use up-and-downs most of the time.”

In adding to her career victories in Porto Alegre, Vienna, Toronto, Paris and the Commonwealth Games, Cheyech also got a boost from her former team and friends in the host country, with whom she had a chance to renew acquaintances.

Stars beat Mozambique 1-0 in thrilling international friendly match

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An early first half strike by Erick Johanna was enough for Stanely Okumbi’s men to see of Mozambique in an international friendly match played today at the Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi

Harambee stars started the match with a swift counter attack in the 10th minute that saw the Mozambique goalkeeper spill a shot by Michael Olunga who rebounded it to Captain Victor Wanyama who shot it over the bar missing the post narrowly.

Harambee Stars finally got their goal five minutes later; Antony Akumu released Erick ‘Marcello’ Ouma on the left and the Gor Mahia leftback put in a low cross that was met by Erik Johanna who cooly slotted the ball home to give Kenya the lead. Micheal Olunga could have made it two nil five minutes later but his free header was inches over the bar.

Mozambique pressed hard for an equalizer and were forcing the stars defense to concede fouls and corners but the Stars put up a good defensive fight that made the match end at 1-0.

limo to defend beirut marathon title in stiff competition

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Jackson Limo knows full well it won’t be easy defending his Blom Bank Beirut Marathon title on Sunday (13).

On that occasion at this IAAF Silver Label Road Race, he had dropped the competition by 35km and eventually crossed the finish line with a staggering two-minute margin of victory in 2:11:04, a new Beirut record.

Inspired by his training partners, who include Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan star says he is seeking the honour of becoming the first man to win back-to-back titles at this event, which this year features IAAF President Sebastian Coe as its official starter. Limo would also like to improve both the event record and his personal best which has stood at 2:09:04 since 2014.

Elite Athlete Coordinator Hussein Makke has assembled quite the cast of characters eager to upset Limo’s plans.

“Every year we are trying to improve and bring in some higher level athletes,” Makke said. “We have been successful the last two years. When the athletes leave Beirut they leave with smiles and that helps. But we still have the target to improve the image overall and continue hopefully to attract higher and higher quality athletes. I’m very, very pleased with the men’s field.”

Victor Wanyama joins Stars camp ahead of Mozambique friendly

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Victor Wanyama became the first foreign based star to join national soccer team camp ahead of their Saturday friendly match against Mozambique at the Safaricom stadium Kasarani.

Wanyama , who turn s out for English Premier League side Tottenham hotspurs missed Kenya's last immediate friendly against DR Congo and his return is a big boost to coach Okumbi who is using the friendly matches to shape up his team ahead of future international assignments.

Other foreign based players expected in the team's camp include:

Odhiambo David Owino - Zesco, Zambia

David Ochieng - New York, Cosmos USA

Onyango Brian Mandela - Maritzburg, South Africa

Abud Omar - Slava Sofia, Bulgaria

Ismael Gonzales - Las Palmas Spain

Agay Anthony Akumu - Zesco, Zambia

Amos Ekhalie - IFK Mariehamn, Finland,

Clifton Miheso - Golden Arrows, South Africa

Ooko Paul Were - Acharnaikos Greece

Jackson Jesse Were - Zesco, Zambia

Ogada Michael Olunga - IF Djugardens Sweden

Football World Cup trophy designer Silvio Gazzaniga dies at 95

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Silvio Gazzaniga, the Italian sculptor who designed the World Cup trophy, has died at the age of 95. This was disclosed by Gazzaniga’s son, Giorgio, who said his father passed away in his sleep at home in Milan.

“He just didn’t wake up this morning. It was a peaceful death,” Giorgio Gazzaniga told The Associated Press on Monday, October 31. According to Giorgio, his father had been in the hospital recently for a series of minor ailments. Reacting to Gazzaniga’s death, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “The World Cup is a mythic object for the players and for all football lovers. “We will be eternally grateful. I express my condolences by joining the pain of the family.” FIFA’s website also quoted what Gazzaniga said after he designed the World Cup.

“The 18-carat solid gold trophy weighs approximately six kilograms (13 pounds). It depicts a moment of joy: two players celebrating with their arms outstretched and a globe resting on the backs of their shoulders. “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world.

Korir and Daska claim convincing victories in Mainova Frankfurt

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Kenyan Mark Korir and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia claimed convincing victories at the 35th Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (30).

In the men's race, Korir won a three-way battle in 2:06:48, more than 30 seconds clear of compatriots Martin Kosgei and Cybrian Kotut. In the women's contest, Daska collected her second Frankfurt victory in 2:25:27, dramtically fending off a late-race challenge by Germany's Fate Tola.

A lead group of eight was guided by three pacemakers through the first half in 1:02:58, according to the pre-race plan. In the 27th kilometre, Ethiopia’s Tadesse Tola, the fastest in field with a PB of 2:04:49, was the first to drift back, leaving Korir, Kotut, Kosgei, Birhanu Achamie of Ethiopia and pacemaker Vincent Rono at the front at 30 kilometres, reached in 1:30:09. Korir upped the tempo, dropping Achamie and the pacesetter.

Korir, the 2015 Paris Marathon winner, began his decisive attack with five kilometres remaining, and was never significantly threatened en route to the race's dazzling indoor finish area in Frankfurt's Festhalle.

In the women's race, as expected the Ethiopian pair of Mamitu Daska and Sutume Asefa Kebede established an early lead. Their early tempo suggested a possible attack on the course record of 2:21:01, set in 2012 by fellow-Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu.

Daska was clearly struggling from the 35th kilometre, where she had an advantage of 2:40. "It was my aim to win the race, but it was getting really tough because of the problems," she'd later say.

Slowing dramatically, her lead was cut to 1:24 five kilometres later. Continuing to fade even as Tola pressed on, Daska still held on for the win, holding off the challenger by 15 seconds. Had the race been some 300 metres longer, the finishing order would have been reversed.

"I could have run 15 seconds faster, but I did not see Mamitu Daska early enough," said Tola, who clocked 2:25:42. Nonetheless, she wasn't disappointed. "It was a great race for me, I am really happy.“

Jepkosgei shatters women course record in Col de la Gineste

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In the women’s contest, Jepkosgei produced a dominating performance to win in 1:07:00.

No one could sustain her pace and she never faded, even on the challenging Col de la Gineste, as she forged on to lower the previous course record, set by Kenya’s Mercy Kibarus in 2012, by 54 seconds.

It should be noted that last year’s winner, Peres Jepchirchir, ran faster, prevailing in Cassis in 1:06:01. But the course was shortened by about 400 metres due to road works near the start line in Marseille.

With her victory Jepkosgei extended the Kenyan winning streak in the women’s race to seven editions.

Her compatriot Parendis Lekapana was a distant second in 1:09:25 as Ethiopia’s Godfay Afera rounded the podium in 1:10:20.

The race began in cool and sunny conditions, but temperatures later reached nearly 25 C in the finishing area at the port de Cassis. Approximately 15,000 runners entered the race.

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