Glasgow CG Diary: A Clean Sweep by Kenyans in the Glasgow Women's 10,000 meters, by Justin Lagat

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Joyce Chepkirui, gold at 10,000 meters, Glasgow 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Florence Kiplagat, silver, 10,000m, Glasgow 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Emily Chebet, bronze, 10,000m, Glasgow 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

For Tuesday night, Justin Lagat was quite busy. He wrote this piece on the 10,000 meters and then, wrote about the 1,500 meters! Here is his piece on the 10,000 meters women's race, which was a sweep for Kenyan women! 
2014 Glasgow Women's10,000m; A Clean Sweep by Kenyans, by Justin Lagat

It was a rare feat for Kenyans on the third day of athletics at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when Joyce Chepkirui led other two Kenyan athletes to a 1-2-3 victory in the athletic fans packed Hampden Park Stadium. This was the kind of success that usually happens for Kenyans in the 3000m steeplechase events, although not very often of late.

With slightly over 2000 meters to go in the women's 10,000m event, the contest for the medals was clearly amongst the three Kenyan women in the leading pack. The question was, who was going to take which medal among them. All of them are among the finest road racers in the world over the half marathon distance and great cross country runners too with Emily Chebet having won two world cross country titles, Joyce Chepkirui having won the African title and Florence Kiplagat having won the 2009 world cross country title.

Joyce Chepkirui, born on 20th August 1988, was the youngest of the three Kenyans and perhaps the reason for her stronger sprinting power over Kiplagat, if it is true that athletes lose their sprinting power with age and also as they move on to run in the longer distances.

Having won at the Kenyan national trials for the Commonwealth Games, Florence Kiplagat must have had the greatest hopes of clinching the title. After all, the event turned out to be more of a repeat of the Kenyan trials for the Glasgow Games, only that the competition here wasn't as tough as it was at the national trials where he had to face off with other great distance runners in their home ground. Here, she had just but two other athletes of her caliber to tackle. Having broken the world record in the half marathon event in Barcelona in February and facing a strong field to finishing second at the London marathon in April, it appeared as though she would not be needing to use the same effort she used in those earlier victories in the year to win here.

At the bell, there was no rush for the lead among the three athletes. Not even a slight increase in the pace. It was as though the three Kenyans had reached a consensus to run and finish the race together. This made me wonder if it were possible for them to just finish in a parallel line and take position one and make it three gold medals for Kenya in one event!

However, with 200m to go Kiplagat suddenly surged forward. Chebet slowly began to lose ground as Joyce Chepkirui reacted and followed closely from behind. With less than ten meters to go, Joyce Chepkirui ran shoulder to shoulder with Kiplagat before edging her slightly at the finish line finishing in 32:09.35 against Kiplagat's 32:09.48, Chebet followed to complete the podium positions for Kenyans in 32.10.82. Behind her, Avery and Potter of England and Scotland respectively enacted the same scenario of Kiplagat and Chepkirui, but a little more dramatically as they finished in 32:33.35 and 32:33.36.

In relation to the 2010 edition of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi where Grace Momanyi had won gold and Doris Changeywo silver in the same event, Kenya's performance here has been better and hopefully will lead into a better overall performance by Kenya as a nation at the end of the Glasgow Games.

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