Men’s 10,000m finish! From Commonwealth Games Foundation.org
One of the most exciting 10,000 meters in memory was the Commonwealth Games men’s race this past week. While fans focused on Bett, Levins and Kipsiro battling over the final meters, Justin Lagat notes that the Kenyan men performances did not equal the Kenyan women in the 10,000 meters.
Kenyan men not as successful as their female counterparts in the 10,000m, by Justin Lagat, by Justin Lagat
Moses Kipsiro of Uganda became the first athlete to defend his Commonwealth title, some minutes before Sally Pearson of Australia also did so in in the women 100m hurdles, in the athletic events during the men’s 10,000m finals in Glasgow. He had tried it in the 5000m earlier on but failed. The two Kenyans, Daniel Lemashon and Joseph Birech, who had followed him to take silver and bronze at the 2010 New Delhi Games were not only absent here, but have also faded from the competitive world of athletics since then.
It was a close margin win for Kipsiro against the two other contenders who ended up on the podium positions. Kenya’s Josphat Bett who had celebrated at the finish line thinking that he had won was shocked when he was confirmed to have been 0.03 seconds later than the winner as he finished in 27:56.14. Cameron Levins of Canada who finished in 27:56.23 had appeared poised to take the title in the remaining 300m as he led the leading pack of three up to the last fifty meters when he was overtaken from both sides; Kipsiro passing by his left hand and Bett by his right.
While the Kenyan women had easily swept all the medals in their 10,000m event, their male counterparts could not replicate that. The 10,000m title for Kenyan men has always been hard to come by in major championship events, which has raised some questions that have also in turn caused people to come up with different theories. One theory is that many Kenyan athletes are so eager to move up to road running and they see the 10,000m event as just but a transition stage. Another theory is that there are very few 10,000m races around and the athletes who would be best suited for the event would rather start running road races and establish their names and earn a living instead of waiting for the limited rare opportunities to run in the 10,000m.
For Moses Kipsiro, or any other athlete that comes from a country that handsomely rewards track heroes, he had a great motivation to forego other competitions and concentrate fully on winning a gold medal for his country. Uganda’s government is known to reward its athletes very well from buying houses and cars for them, promoting them in their jobs and developing the local communities in which they come from, among other perks. With the Commonwealth Games title, Kipsiro has probably already booked himself an appointment with the president of his country where he will be rewarded and get a chance to give some proposals on how to develop the sports in the country and ensure more medals next time.
Next year will be another chance for Kenyan men to try their luck again at the world championships in Beijing and see if they can finally get to dominate this distance as they do the rest of the middle and long distance events.