Nine gold medallists to be decided today
Nine gold medallists are to be decided on the penultimate day of the
13th IAAF World Championships here in South Korea today.
The dayís star-studded lineup includes the menís 50km race walk
scheduled for the morning.
The eveningís schedule under lights at the picturesque Daegu Stadium,
situated beside two huge mountains, comprise of womenís high jump, menís
javelin throw, womenís 800m, menís 400m, menís 1,500m, womenís 4 x 400m
relay, womenís 100m hurdles and menís 200m finals.
But the much looked forward to menís marathon will be worked off
tomorrow Ė the ninth and final day of the 203-nation championship which
has been a resounding success.
Defending champion Abel Kirui, who set a championship record of two
hours, six minutes and 14 seconds in Berlin two years ago, is looking
forward for another dream run.
Kirui, who shattered an eight-year-old WC record of two-time winner
Jaouad Gharbib of Morocco, spearheads a strong Kenyan team tipped to win
a fourth successive marathon gold.
The Kenyan marathon team is strengthened by the presence of Vincent
Kipruto, who has recorded the worldís third fastest marathon timing this
year - 2:05:33, Kenya has enough and more back up to keep their marathon
medal hopes alive in Dubai and Paris champions David Barmasai (2:07:18)
and Benjamin Kiptoo (2:06:31). Eliud Kiptanui who will go to the start
line with a 2:09:08 performance is another Kenyan dark horse.
The chances are more on Barmasai after he raised eyebrows last
October in winning the Nairobi Marathon at an altitude of 1600 metres in
the Kenyan capital in 2:10:31.
Kenyaís customary challengers in the long distance race would come
from neighboring Ethiopia, In Gebre Gebremariam, winner in New York on
his Marathon debut last November, Ethiopia could keep their gold medal
Twenty six-year-old Gebremariam, whose strength is backed up by his
victory in the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, dreams to
emulate the feats of Abere Gezahegne in Edmonton 2001 by becoming only
the second Ethiopian to win a World championship marathon gold.
The Ethiopian firepower of endurance include other world class
performers Eshetu Wendimu and Chala Decasse who have marks of 2:07:33
and 2:08:47 for third positions in Paris and Rotterdam to their credit
Apart from Kenya and Ethiopia which has been dominating in marathons,
Moroccan pair of Abderrahim Goumri and Abderrahime Bouramdane who come
into the Championships with seasonís bests of 2:09:11 and the latter
2:08:42 for seventh place in London, too are capable pi springing an
However, the mighty Kenyans would make every endeavour to complete
that elusive marathon double, having already made a clean sweep in the
womenís marathon held on the opening day of the championship.
Edna Kiplagat will now look forward to see her team mates bring the
menís marathon medals to Nairobi. Kiplagat and her Kenyan teammates
Priscah Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop moved swiftly to the front to make a
clean sweep. It was the first time that the Kenyan women won all three
medals in a World Championship marathon.
For Kenya, the womenís Marathon was the one womenís distance event
missing in Berlin two years ago after Vivian Cheruiyot won the 5000m and
Linet Masai the 10,000m. Though none of the Kenyan women finished within
the top 10 in the 2009 World Championship marathon, they made a strong
come back this time around.
Full house expected
A packed stadium is expected for the weekendís events. South Koreans
of all walks of life, especially those who live in this host city, have
shown a keen interest in watching the action.
There have been a large number of schoolchildren of lined up early
morning to catch action on Thursday and Friday. Even the primary
students too have made their way with teachers to make the best use of
this rare opportunity of witnessing some of the top athletes in the
Their enthusiasm will reach peak with Sunday nightís events which
include menís and womenís 4 x 100m relay which would get almost all top
sprinters in the world into action. Besides the two relays and the menís
marathon, the other finals scheduled for Sunday are womenís hammer
throw, menís triple jump, menís 5,000m and womenís 800m. - DAEGU, Friday