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.

Harambee Starlets lose to Indomitable Lionesses by a solitary goal.

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Kenya's Harambee Starlets lost to Indomitable Lionesses despite the home field advantage, by a solitary goal on the Saturday of 22nd october 2016, at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani.

Starlets were a force to recon with in the first few minutes, but failed to put the ball behind the net and little did they know it would haunt them later.

After settling for a goaless first half, the Indomitable Lionesses came back pressing hard, and their efforts bore fruit in the 64th minute after Christine Maine confidently converted a penalty. They held the one goal advantage upto the last whisle of the game beating Kenya with a solitary goal.

The Starlets are looking foward for better results when they face Egypt on the Friday of 28th October 2016 at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani.

Kenya and Cameroon have only met seven times before; the first encounter having been way back in 1972 during the Africa Cup of Nations group games. The last of the seven games was a 1998 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier held in 1997.

Of the seven meetings between the two, three of the games have been during the Africa Cup of Nations Group games – in 1972, 1998 and 1990. Kenya lost two of those and managed a barren draw during the 1988 clash in Morocco.

Jepchumba retains her 2016 momentum to dominate in Cardiff

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Violah Jepchumba kept her stellar 2016 momentum alive with a dominant victory at the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, in the Welsh capital on Sunday (2).

Running alone almost from the gun, the 25-year-old Kenyan clocked 1:08:14 for her fifth victory in as many road races this year, finishing well inside the previous race record of 1:01:10 set by Susan Partridge in 2012.

Expectations were high for Jepchumba, who threatened Florence Kiplagat's 1:05:09 world record with a blistering 1:05:51 run in Prague in April, and who, in her most recent outing, came within three seconds of Paula Radcliffe's 10km world record with a 30:24 run, also in Prague, 22 days ago.

In Cardiff, Jepchumba forged an assault on Kiplagat's mark early on, passing through five kilometres in 15:30. But with no company, she wasn't able to maintain the brisk tempo, slowing to 31:30 at 10 kilometres and further to 48:02 after 15.

Crossing the 20-kilometre marker in 1:04:50, she cruised on to her fourth half marathon victory of 2016, beating Flomena Cheyech Daniel, the Commonwealth marathon champion, by nearly two minutes. Cheyech clocked 1:10:05 with Lenah Jerotich, the 2015 Cardiff winner, completing the Kenyan podium sweep in third, running 1:11:23.

There was a Kenyan podium sweep and race record in the men's race too.

Shadrack Korir made his break with about two kilometres remaining to win in 1:00:54, a near two-minute improvement on his previous best of 1:02:40 and well under the 1:01:51 race record set by Loitarakwai Lengurisi in 2013.

Cyprian Kotut, this year's Paris Marathon winner, was second in 1:01:04, with 20-year-old Charles Muneria, a Kenyan Olympian at 5000m this year, third in 1:01:36 on his debut over the distance.

Nearly 22,000 runners took part in the race that looped through the Welsh capital on the same course that was used for this year's IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.

Chepchirchir breaks Course Record at the Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Marathon EDP

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Sarah Chepchirchir of Kenya broke the course record at the Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Marathon EDP to highlight a busy day of IAAF Gold Label Road Race action in the Portuguese capital on Sunday (2).

The 30-year-old clocked 2:24:12 to eclipse the previous course standard by nearly a minute while shattering her own lifetime best by nearly six.

In the morning's other three races, also IAAF Gold Label events, Kenyan Alfred Kering won the men's marathon in 2:10:27, while Nguse Amlosom of Eritrea and Genet Yalew of Ethiopia took the half marathon titles, clocking 1:02:39 and 1:10:25 respectively.

The women’s race began with a balanced pace, with a group of five still in contention at the midway point, reached in 1:12:23. Ethiopian Shanko Genemo, who was gunning for her third marathon triumph of 2016, was forced to drop out just beyond the half, leaving four Kenyans to battle for the win: Chepchirchir, Brigid Kosgei, Esther Ndiema and Rose Chepchumba.

Midway through the race’s second half, Chepchirchir and Kosgei dropped the other pair with Chepchirchir making her decisive break in the closing kilometres to easily take down the previous course record of 2:25:09.

Behind her, Kosgei notched a big personal best as well, clocking 2:24:45 for second place, finishing inside the previous course record. Her performance was also a big improvement on her previous lifetime best of 2:27:45 set when winning April’s Milan Marathon. Ndiema was a distant third in 2:31:41.

In relative terms, the men’s race wasn’t nearly as fast.

After an opening half of 1:04:07, Alfred Kering pulled away in the latter stages to win comfortably in 2:10:27, well ahead of Reuben Kerio, who clocked 2:11:09.

Seboka Nigusse closed well to clock 2:11:42 and dash the hopes for a Kenyan double podium sweep.

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Sports Kenya (SK) was founded through the Sports Act of January 25 2013 by an Act parliament as a successor to Sports Stadia Management Board and the department of Sports in the ministry of sports, culture and the arts.

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