Stella Chesang just won the gold medal for 10,000 meters at the Commonwealth Games on Day 2 of the athletic schedule. I love the Commonwealth Games. My experience in Glasgow was a lot of fun, I was sad I could not attend in 2018. However, we have Justin Lagat and Stuart Weir covering the events for us. Here is Justin Lagat’s piece on the women’s 10,000 meters.
Stella Chesang ran 15:17.91 in 2017, and she has a PB of 15:10.30 for 5000 meters. Her PB prior to the CG was 34:31.15 from 2013 on the track. In 2015, Stella ran 32:10 for 10k on the roads, and in 2017, Stella Chesang ran 31:54 on the track.
The 10,000 meters, twenty five laps around a 400 meter oval, is a mentally challenging event.
Chesang took to the front just at the bell and produced a devastating kick that left her running alone at the front on her way to win the women’s 10,000m in 31: 45.30, Stacy Ndiwa of Kenya took second in 31:46.36 while another Ugandan, Mercyline Chelangat overtook Kenya’s Beatrice Mutai on the last lap to take the bronze medal.
Loganatan Suriya of India had dictated the pace up to about the 4000m point. It was a bit slow and caused too many athletes to be concentrated in a huge pack that caused Mutai of Kenya to fall down in it hardly 1000m into the race, but she easily got back again to the pack.
Three Kenyans were all at the front of the pack after the 4000m mark, with Stacy Ndiwa doing much of the pacing.Slowly by slowly, the field began to stretch. With about five laps to go, Uganda’s Chesang quickly moved to the front as though to take over the pacing, but Ndiwa would not let her take over the first lane and the two ran side by side for a while before Chesang retreated back briefly. The presence of two Australians in the mix at the front caused great cheering from the crowds. Sandra Chebet from Kenya then dropped back as Celia Sullohern of Australia moved up to the second position with less than two laps to go and the crowd was going wild. A decisive move by Chesang at the bell shattered the dreams of the home ground fans in the Carrara Stadium.
Earlier on in the day, Caster Semeya had won the first heat of the women’s 1500m comfortably as she controlled the race all the way to the finish line. In the same version as Caster Semenya, Beatrice Chepkoech decided to stay out of trouble and did lead from the start to the finish. Kenya’s Chepkoech and Winny Chebet were on the second heat and there was trouble here when Winnie Chebet fell down with 50m to go and literally going down with the dreams of many Kenyans for two medals in the event’s finals tomorrow. The medal prospect for Kenyans here doesn’t look as good as it would have looked had Chebet joined Mary Kuria, who qualified in the first heat, and Chepkoech at the finals tomorrow.