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Upstart rips Berlin track as Nyambura lowers African mark

Nairobi, Monday

As Harambee Stars were breaking hearts of the nation, Kenyan runners took to the blue tartan of the ISTAF IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Berlin and motored to victory and a share of podium places on Sunday.

Virginia Nyambura smashed the African record when she bounced back from her World Championships disappointment to win the 2000m steeplechase. Her winning time of 6:02.16 is a new area standard and the second-fastest time in history, behind the 6:01.20 split Gulnara Galkina recorded en route to her world record and Olympic title in 2008.

Compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech was a close second in 6:02.47 and world bronze medallist Gesa Felicitas Krause smashed her own German record with 6:04.20 in third.

Athens 2004 Olympics bronze medallist and steeplechase specialist Paul Kipsiele Koech, fresh from his victory at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich, was a comfortable winner of the men’s 5000m in 13:08.86.

Showing his versatility and fresh legs after missing the Beijing ticket, Kipsiele sprung away from the competition over the last lap to win by some 50m from chasing American pair of Hassan Mead (13:10.38) and veteran Kenyan born 2007 double world champion, Bernard Lagat who closed the podium in 13:17.58.

Isaiah Kiplangat Koech who failed to sparkle at the worlds returned sixth (13:27.31) as his underwhelming season continued with Haron Lagat running 13:30.95 for eighth. Olympics bronze medallist, Timothy Kitum failed to make an impression in the men 800m race finishing sixth in 1:46.06.

Botswana star Nijel Amos, another athlete who missed out on the World Championships final, won comfortably. The Olympic silver medallist was the only athlete near the pacemakers as they went through 400m in 49.52.

With 200 metres to go, Amos was away and clear; the chasing pack, led by world silver medallist Adam Kszczot, had left themselves with too much to do Amos won by almost a second in 1:43.28.

Kszczot won the battle for second place, clocking 1:44.22 to just hold off 2013 world champion Mohammed Aman and Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi, both of whom ran 1:44.24. Attention turns to the second IAAF Diamond League final on Friday in Brussels where Kenya athletes will be out to add to the three Diamond Trophies won at the first decider in Zurich last week.

World men 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop, deposed world women 800m titleholder, Eunice Sum and Commonweath silver medallist and African men steeplechase gold medallist, Jairus Kipchoge Birech won their Diamond Races.

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