Kenya sweep medals at worlds opening day in Daegu
Kenya’s women distance runners dominated the opening day of the World Championships yesterday, remarkably snapping up all six medals on offer in the 10,000m and marathon.
But there was heartbreak for household names Steve Hooker and Christine Ohuruogu in South Korea.
Reigning world and Olympic pole vault champion Hooker failed to register a single vault while Ohuruogu, the Olympic champion, was disqualified from the women’s 400m after a dreadful false start.
Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt safely negotiated his 100m heat, however, as did American Allyson Felix in the 400m, moving a step closer to her goal of an elusive 200-400m double.
But the day belonged to Kenya, the east African country putting arch-rivals Ethiopia firmly in their place in the battle for distance supremacy.
First up was Edna Kiplagat, who claimed marathon gold in 2hr 28min 43sec as she led Priscah Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop across the line on the streets of Daegu.
The evening session saw a superb lesson in superior team tactics pay off when the four Kenyans in the race worked together effectively and saw Vivian Cheruiyot claim gold in the 10,000m in 30min 48.98sec.
Fellow countrywomen Sally Kipyego and 2009 champion Linet Masai completed the podium to round off an incredible opening day’s medal haul for Kenya.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” beamed Cheruiyot.
“It’s a wonderful day for Kenyans and for the entire country. We wanted to run together and it was the plan to run together and we ran perfectly, helping each other.”
For the injury-wracked Hooker, his outing was nothing less than a catastrophe but the Australian was left with “no complaints”.
The 29-year-old passed at 5.20 and 5.35 but failed to even muster a vault on each of his three efforts at 5.50, 10cm shorter than his modest best this season, running through the mats each time.
“I don’t have any complaints,” said Hooker.
“I felt fine physically but I felt kind of lost on the runway.”
Ohuruogu, who had been desperately struggling to re-find the form that saw her win gold in Beijing in 2008 with an eye on the 2012 Olympics which will be held in her native east end of London, was left devastated.
“People false start all the time. It’s a sad situation. I’ve worked really hard so I just feel wasted,” she said.
There were no surprises in round one of the men’s 100m, defending world and Olympic champion Bolt cruising home in his heat in 10.10sec.
Fellow Jamaicans Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake all also went through, as did the US trio of Justin Gatlin, Walter Dix and Trell Kimmons, European champion Christophe Lemaitre and veteran Kim Collins.
After the first day of decathlon action, American duo Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee are in control.
Leader Eaton leads on 4,441 points, 48 ahead of defending world champion Hardee.