Kenyas Sumgong wins Rio womens marathon – congratulations
Posted by African Press International on August 14, 2016
STEVE OMONDI -1 | Jumapili, Agosti 14, 2016
IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Jemima Sumgong produced a scintillating performance to give Kenya it’s first gold medal by winning a closely contested women’s marathon in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
Sumgong also went down in history as the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a time of 2:24:04.
The new champion was at a loss of words for her historic achievement.
“I just don’t know what to say. This is just unbelievable. Before the start of the race I asked God to help me get a good result and I’m happy my prayers have been answered,” she said after the race.
Sumgong was however, pushed all the way to finish by Kenyan-turned-Bahrainian Eunice Kirwa who took silver in 2:24:13.
Reigning world champion Mare Dibaba settled for third in 2:24:30.
But it was Sumgong who took charge of the race on the homestretch shaking off Kirwa in the final kilometre after an exhausted Dibaba dropped dropped back.
“At the 35km mark I realised that my teammates had dropped off and that gave an extra motivation to push forward and make my country proud. In the last 2km it was just the three of us and I said I’m not letting go now,” she said.
The other Kenyans in the race Helah Kiprop and Visiline Jepkesho did not make a top ten finish.
Athletics head coach Julius Kirwa celebrated the win by warmly hugging Sumgong in the mixed zone.
“I expected her to win. I observed her during the morning preparations and saw I alot of determination in her,” Kirwa said.
The early leader of the race turned out to be Paris Marathon champion Jepkesho who set the pace in the first 10km before burning out by the halfway mark.
BATTLE BETWEEN KENYANS AND ETHIOPIANS
At the 10km mark the race was shaping up into a battle between the Kenyans and the Ethiopian trio comprising of Dibaba, Tirfe Tsegaye and Tigist Tufa who formed the break away group of eleven runners led by Jepkesho with a split time of 34.22.
Also among the leaders was Kenyan turned Bahrainian pair of Rose Chelimo and Kirwa, Diseree Linden of the USA and Kayoko Fukushi of Japan and former race walker Volha Mazuronak of Belarus.
At the 15km mark Chemilo moved to the front with split time of 51.43. Tufa would however limp off at the 18km with what appeared to have been an injured right ankle.
As the race wore on, Jepkesho gradually began to tire and at the halfway mark she had effectively dropped off the leading pack and virtually out of contention for a medal.
The new leader at this point was Mazuronak, who was timed at 1:12:56 at the 21km mark. Kirwa, the Ethiopian pair of Tsegaye and Dibaba as well as Sumgong and Kiprop kept close tabs of the proceedings.
The field would further be reduced after 30km with to the Dibaba hitting to the front of a group comprising, Tsegaye, Sumgong, Chelimo, Kirwa, Muzoronak as well as Shalane Flanagan of the US.
With 5km to go, it was evident that the battle to the finish line would involve Kirwa, Sumgong and Dibaba who at this point broke away from the rest of the group.
Nation news Kenya
# Sumgong Kenya is proud of you. You moved and moved and moved and that Gold was waiting for you.