Kenya marathon double on final day of games

2010-10-14 09:25

New Delhi – Kenya won both the men’s and women’s marathon races on the final day of the Commonwealth Games today to pip Australia as the top power in athletics.

In testing, hot and humid conditions through the deserted streets of central New Delhi, John Kelai gave Kenya its first men’s marathon title in 20 years finishing in 2:14.35. well clear of Australia’s Michael Shelley and another Kenyan, Amos Matui.

It was a first-ever women’s marathon title for Kenya when Irene Kosgei broke clear late to pip compatriot Irene Mogake in a time of 2:34.32 with Lisa Weightman of Australia taking the bronze.

The Kenyan double meant that the east African country topped the athletics medals list ahead of Australia for the first time, vindicating their decision to send a near full-strength team to the New Delhi meet.

If the atmosphere was subdued in the early morning hours of the closing day, it was set to be electric later in the hockey stadium for the men’s final between hosts India and favourites Australia.

The Indian team has been gathering steam with big wins over Pakistan and England bringing back memories of the glory years of Indian hockey when they ruled the world.

But in the Australians they were faced with a team going for a fourth successive gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.

The world champions have finished on the top in each edition since the sport was introduced at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998 and look primed to bag the coveted medal this time as well.

A victory in the summit clash will also complete an unprecedented hat-trick of winning the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth gold in the same year for Ric Charlesworth’s men.

Home interest will also be high in the badminton where top seed Sania Nehwal will bid to become the first Indian woman to win the Commonwealth Games singles title going up against second seeded Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia.

The other final day gold medals will be in rhythmic gymnastics (4), netball with Australia taking on New Zealand, and table-tennis (2). 

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