Kenyans show their class in Zurich Diamond League final
ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | September 11th 2021
It was time for Kenyan athletes to bring home the millions in prize money as Zurich Weltklasse Diamond League finals lived to its billing.
From big kicks in the final stretches, to first class tactics on the track, Kenyan stars did not disappoint at the final leg, and five of them bagged the Sh3.2 million prize money each in their different races.
The Kenyan big shots started off badly during the first day of finals on Friday after two-time world champion Hellen Obiri lost to Francine Niyonsaba in the women’s 5000m women as Jacob Krop and Nicholas Kimeli settled for third and fourth places respectively, losing out to Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi in the men’s category.
But the country’s contingent posted impressive results on Thursday night.
The rivalry between world champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway played out.
Last month, Ingebrigtsen beat Cheruiyot at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and the Zurich Diamond League offered the Kenyan track star the opportunity to revenge, and after an epic sprint in the homestretch, Cheruiyot held off Ingebrigtsen in a 3:31.37 win.
Two-time Olympic champion Faith Chepngetich proved, once again to Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan, that she is still the queen of 1500m.
Chepngetich’s win however did not come easy. Hassan put up a brave fight in the final 300m stretch, but the Kenyan who seemed to have saved enough gas for the kick responded and went ahead to win in a time of 3:58.33. In 800m, Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir clinched the Diamond League title in style, edging out compatriot Ferguson Rotich.
With 300m to go, it was still not clear whether Korir who has won two of the biggest 800m races this year (the Olympics and the 800m Diamond League) was going to win the title because Rotich appeared to be leading at the homestretch.
But Korir, tactically unleashed his energy in the last 100m before producing a splendid sprint to the finish, winning in 1:44.56.
Rotich crossed the finish line in 1:44.96 for second.
Olympic bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen unleashed a deadly kick to clinch the men’s 3000m steeplechase.
Kigen clocked 8:17.45 for the win.
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