NAIROBI, Kenya- World champions Hellen Obiri and Elijah Manangoi delivered two quickfire gold medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on Saturday morning on the final day of track and field action to restore pride for wounded Team Kenya.
Obiri and Manangoi pushed the tally to 17 medals (four gold, seven silver and six bronze) as the country rose to 13th overall and past neighbours Uganda (three gold, two bronze).
Timothy Cheruiyot and Margaret Chelimo followed Manangoi and Obiri across the line for the Kenyan 1-2s to cap the most rewarding spell of the 21st edition of the Club Games pending Sunday’s men and women marathons.
Obiri added the Commonwealth crown to her world title when she clocked 15:11.31 for victory ahead of countrywoman Chelimo (15:15.28) with Laura Weightman of England leading the challengers home for bronze in 15:25.85.
Eva Cherono, the third Kenyan in the race ran a lifetime best of 15:36.10 for sixth on her first outing at the Club Games.
From the gun, the Kenyan trio who were wary of the carpet pulled out under their feet especially by Uganda took charge of the race with Obiri pulling the field through 1000m in 3:22.30.
Working together, the London 2017 gold winner let Cherono take over the front running duties with 2000m hit at 6:22.08. Obiri then went to the lead with Cherono and Chelimo in tow and had an unobstructed view at 3000m (9:21.20) and 4000m (12:20.37) before sprinting away for victory in the closing lap.
Taking up the baton, Team Kenya captain, Elijah Manangoi, also added the Club Games crown to his world title when he once again led Cheruiyot to the Kenyan 1-2 with the clocks returning 3:34.78 against 3:35.17.
The world champion thus turned tables on Cheruiyot who won the Kenyan Trial for Gold Coast in a race where World Under 20 champion, Kumari Taki (3:38.74) finished seventh on his first senior outing.
Jake Whiteman of Scotland came through in 3:35.97 for the third medal in the final where Luke Mathews of Australia sent the home crowd buzzing at the Carrara Stdaium when he took the early initiative and led the pedestrian pace affair at 400m (1:00.95).
Cheruiyot then took over, reaching 800m (2:00.04) and 1200m (2:56.10) but he could not respond to the superior finishing speed of Manangoi who powered through the homestretch for his second senior title.
In the men Javelin, the reign of former world champion and Olympic silver medallist, Julius Yego as Commonwealth champion ended on Saturday morning when Neeraj Chopra of India threw 86.47m to be crowned the new titleholder.
Hamish Peacock of Australia (82.59m) and Anderson Peters of Granada (82.20m) took silver and bronze on a landmark occasion for India in field events.
Kenya’s Alex Kiprotich had a best effort of 73.21m to finish 11th among the 12 finalists on his first international assignment for his nation.
It capped an inglorious end to Yego’s title defence after the ‘You Tube Man’ who did not make the final after he was disqualified during Friday’s preliminaries for stepping out of the line in one of the shocks of the event.
Having failed to medal at the 400m Hurdles, 2015 world champion, Nicholas Bett nightmare at Gold Coast continued on Saturday when the Kenyan 4x400m relay team was disqualified in the final.
Collins Omae, Boniface Mweresa and his twin brother Aron Koech had ran 2:17.14 before Bett was penalised for taking the wrong position in the last baton change under IAAF Rule 170.2.