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Chepkirui, Kiplagat and Chebet team up to claim 1-2-3 finish in the 10,000m race at the Commonwealth Games


Joyce Chepkirui's sheer ingenuity paid dividend on Tuesday night when she successfully orchestrated the Commonwealth Games 10,000m podium sweep at Hampden Park Stadium.

During the race, the Kenyans decided not to talk to each other and instead used gestures to signal their plans in a move to lock out Ugandan opponents Vanis Chemutai and Chebet Toroitich, who understand their mother-tongue.

And this enabled Chepkirui to lead world 21km record holder Florence Kiplagat and two-time world cross country champion Emily Chebet into the 'Club' Games history books as the only nation to stage a podium sweep in women's 10,000m.

Grace Momanyi and Doris Changeiywo won gold and silver at the Commonwealth Games

in New Delhi, India, in 2010.

The victory was particularly sweet for Chepkirui, who has never won a global title despite having Africa 10,000m title and All Africa Games 1,500m silver medal.

The win also served as a consolation for Chepkirui, who was denied entry into Moscow Worlds Championships' national trials last year under mysterious circumstances.

"I had to prove my mettle here after missing out in bigger championships apart from the Olympics, where I pulled out mid-way," said Chepkirui.

The Iten-based athlete said they had planned to compete as a team upto the eighth lap then break away, which slowed the pace and thus could not lower the games' record set by Salina Kosgei in Manchester in 2002.

"I did not expect to win the race. At the 200 metre mark, I decided to react and felt re-energised to move on. It will motivate me as I prepare to defend my title at the Africa Championships in (Marrakech) Morocco next week," she said.

The three preferred to signal each other using gestures for fear Ugandans Chebet Toroitich and Chemutai Vanis, who speak Kalenjin, could get a wind of their plans. It was only until after they broke away from them that they began to talk.

"I told them the need to signal each other and decided to talk after breaking away. We discussed this," said Florence Kiplagat, who won the 2009 world cross country title in Amman, Jordan.

Kiplagat, who had not competed in 10,000m this season, will also contest in 10,000m at the Africa contest before lining up in Chicago Marathon in October, where she is set to attack Britain's Paula Radcliffe's world record mark of 2:17.42.

"We will battle the Ethiopians in Morocco and, believe me you, we will prove our might. We fear no one, except God," said Kiplagat, the world 21km record holder.

Chepkirui defied the huge odds to upstage Kiplagat to the tape in a personal best time of 32:09.35. Kiplagat (32:09.48) and Emily Chebet (32:10.82), settled for silver and bronze medals.

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