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Kenyans shine in Rome: Kiyeng, Cheruiyot and Kipruto triumph at the fourth IAAF Diamond League meeting

ATHLETICS By JONATHAN KOMEN AND IAAF | June 2nd 2018
IAAF Diamond League - Golden Gala - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 31, 2018 Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya celebrates winning the Women's 3000m Steeplechase REUTERS

Kenyans produced superlative showing at the fourth leg of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome, Italy, on Thursday night.

Olympic 3,000m steeplechase Conseslus Kipruto, Olympic silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng, world 1,500m silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot and Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wyclife Kinyamal did not disappoint in the 38th edition of the Golden Gala Pietromennea – dedicated to Italia’s former Olympic and world 200m record holder Pietro Mennea who died in 2013 – inside Rome’s Stadio Olympico.

Kiyeng, glowing alumnae of athletics-rich Sing’ore Girls, outclassed America’s world champion Emma Coburn, who had led narrowly at the bell, stumbled and fell as she took the final water jump while flanked by Celliphine Chespol, the third fastest steeplechaser in history.

Kiyeng proceeded to win in a meeting record and 2018 fastest time of 9:04.96, with the 19-year-old prodigy Chespol, who had had to chart a quick route around her fallen opponent, second in a season’s best of 9:05.14.

The gutsy American picked herself back up and drove on, but was passed by Norah Jeruto, who was third in 9:07.17 with a shaken Coburn finishing fourth in 9:08.13.

The men’s 800m race was also compelling as 20-year-old Kinyamal, the Commonwealth Games champion, won in 1:44.65, with Jonathan Kitilit returning second in 144.78 while Ferguson Rotich came third in 1:44.74.

“We were fighting for the last 100 metres, but I was stronger and I knew it. I come from the same village as David Rudisha, he was always my example. Now I take over,” said Kinyamal.

World silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot, winner of the Shanghai Diamond League 1500m and the Bowerman Mile at the Eugene Diamond League, maintain bragging rights as he won 1,500m race in 3:31.22, the fastest time this season.

The 22-year-old Cheruiyot finished well clear of his training partner Elijah Manangoi, who won gold in London Worlds last year and finished in a season’s best of 3:33.79.

Ethiopia’s world indoor champion Samuel Tefara came third in 3:34.84.

World and Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto, surprisingly beaten by compatriot Benjamin Kigen at the Eugene Diamond League last week, made sure it didn’t happen again in what was a non-Diamond League race, although it was a close run thing.

Kipruto pulled clear on the final lap to win in 8min 04.40sec but Kigen maintained his rising reputation as he took second place in 8:10.01 despite a stumble at the last hurdle after which he looked briefly behind him before resuming his forward momentum. Ethiopia’s Chala Beyo was third in 8:11.22.

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