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Commonwealth Games: Gathimba walks away with historic bronze

ATHLETICS By DENNIS OKEYO AND IAAF | April 9th 2018
Kenya's Samuel Gathimba (right) and Australia's Dane Bird-Smith in men's 20m race walk final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games yesterday. [AFP]

Samuel Gathimba produced an inspiring performance as he booked himself in the history books in men's 20km race walk.

By winning a bronze medal, the 30-year-old became the first Kenyan man to finish within the podium in Commonwealth Games' history.

Gathimba, who is a Prison warden, crossed the line in 1:19:51 to bag his second major title after victory at the 2016 African Athletics Championships in Durban, South Africa.

In the closely-contested race, Australian Dane Bird-Smith took the lead with the finish line in sight, finishing just four seconds ahead of England’s Tom Bosworth.

Smith won gold in a Games’ record of 1:19:34 with Englishman Bonswoth settling for silver in 1:19:38.

“The last 500m hurt so much but I had everyone behind me which made it so special,” said Bird-Smith.

Another Kenyan, Samuel Wachira, finished 12th stopping the time in 1:26:33.

In the women's 20km walk race, Kenyan veteran Grace Wanjiru failed in her attempt to win her second Club Games medal when she finished eighth while her compatriot Linda Waweru finished 11th.

Jemima Montag won the race in 1:32:50, beating New Zealand’s Alana Barber (1:34:18 ). Bethan Davie of England bagged bronze in 1:36:08.

Meanwhile, Kenyan teenager and 2017 World Under-18 3,000m bronze medallist Edward Zakayo bagged the country’s second medal in men’s 5,000m final.

Zakayo, 17, won bronze in the slow-pace race that saw Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei unleash a powerful kick in the final stages to win in 13:50.83.

Canadian Mohammed Ahmed clinched silver after a classic chase against Uganda Cheptegei. The two will meet again in 10,000m later in the championships.

At the same time, Boniface Mweresa qualified for the 400m semi-finals after finishing third in his heat in a time of 46:32 in a race won by Grenada’s Bralon Taphin. Collins Omae missed out after finishing fourth in his heat.

[Dennis Okeyo]

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