By Mutwiri Mutuota and Reuters
Janeth Jepkosgei brought a smile on Kenyan’s faces even when she surrendered her grip on the world title to settle for silver in the 800m final in Berlin.
Yesterday was turning out to be a bad day for Kenya after pre-race favourite Asbel Kiprop lost in the 1,500m race before Jepkosgei’s heroics in the 800m.
Jepkosgei was the lone ranger in the race after Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo pulled out in the semi-finals with a knee injury. It was also sweet for Jepkosgei also known as ‘Eldoret Expreess’ after she has been tripped in the opening rounds of the 800m race before winning an appeal to run in the semis.
South African teenager Caster Semenya, whose rapid improvement has prompted officials to order a gender verification test, won the yesterday’s race with a crushing performance .
Powerfully-built but beautifully relaxed in motion, the 18-year-old clocked 1 minute, 55.45 seconds for the year’s fastest time and a personal best by more than a second.
Olympic silver medalist Jepkosgei was more than 15 metres adrift for second in 1:57.90.
Fast-closing Jenny Meadows of Britain snatched third, three-hundredths of a second behind Jepkosgei in another personal best.
The International Association of Athetics Federations allowed Semenya to run with the gender test still ongoing, spokesman Nick Davies said earlier on Wednesday.
"It would be wrong today to take a decision to withdraw an athlete," he said.
IAAF will release results of Semenya’s gender test in three weeks and secretary general Pierre Weiss has said Jepkosgei could be declared winner in case the South Africans are found to have cheated.
Officials also decided to keep Semenya away from the traditional post-race news conference. Meanwhile, spurred on by of Linet Masai’s golden run in the 10,000m final, Vivian Cheruiyot, Sylvia Kibet and Iness Chenonge ensured Kenya will parade three finalists in women 5,000m medal race.
Yesterday, the trio breezed to Saturday’s decider with enough gas in the tank to spare.
"I felt strong out there and although the final will be difficult, with Vivian, Iness, Meseret Defar and Meselech Melkamu there, I will try my best to improve on my fourth place in Osaka," Kibet who was the first to qualify after running 15:17.77 for second in the first heat won by Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Ejigu (15:17.64).
"I got a taste of the final and I’m pleased to have been strong at the last lap. I’m, now confident of my abilities come the final. It will be tough there but I will give it everything," Chenonge who is making her Worlds debut said.