Wait for gold continues as Ugandans deny Kenya gold with Ndiwa settling for second place
Keith McGhie in Gold Coast @peoplesport11
Stacy Ndiwa claimed Kenya’s first silver medal in Gold Coast but couldn’t prevent fast finishing Ugandan Stella Chesang becoming Commonwealth 10,000 champion on a night of drama at the Carrara Stadium.
It might have been two medals for Kenya after a heroic but ultimately fruitless run from Beatrice Mutai who finished fourth.
The diminutive Mutai stumbled and fell to the ground on the third of the 25-lap race but initially recovered to rejoin her two compatriots Ndiwa and Sandrafelis Chebet, who ran largely as a team near the front for most of the event.
But the extra effort finally told on Mutai, leaving Ndiwa to chase strongly but in vain as the yellow vest of Chesang steadily pulled away to take gold on the final lap.
Mutai, displaying a blooded right knee, made no excuses but felt the extra energy needed to get up from the fall might have been the difference between a podium place and not getting one.
All three Kenyans claimed personal bests with Ndiwa coming home in 31:46.36, Mutai finishing an agonising four-tenths of a second behind bronze medallist Mercyline Chelangat, also from Uganda, in 31:49.81 with Chebet ending up 10th in 32:11.92.
There was success and further shocks for Kenya in the semi-finals of the women’s 1,500m. Beatrice Chepkoech led the second heat from start to finish, after Mary Wangari had also eased through to tonight’s final, finishing third in the opening race in a season’s best 4:06.58.
Winnie Chebet, the only athlete in the field to have gone under four minutes for the distance, seemed set to join them but alarmingly also fell to the ground with just 60 metres to go while occupying a qualifying place.
The crest fallen Kenyan claimed she had been tripped and a request to look at the video was lodged with the referee. Meanwhile, Gilbert Koech made a sensational start to the men’s Decathlon by setting personal bests in all of the opening five events.
He set off with 11.38 seconds for the 100m, followed by a 6.59m leap in the Long Jump, a 13.21m mark in the Shot Put, then cleared 1.83m in the High Jump before powering to 49.28 in the 400m.
The 28-year-old, who placed seventh in the 2016 African Championships but has shown vast recent improvement, finished an arduous first of the two-day competition in 10th place with the final five events today.
Kenya’s first African High Jump champion in 2016 Mathieu Kiplagat Sawe qualified comfortably for the Gold Coast final with a clearance of 2.15m but knows he will have to go a lot higher than that to feature among the medallists.
Maximila Imali comfortably won her heat of the Women’s 400m in 51.74 seconds while compatriot Veronica Mutua also progressed with a time of 52.70.
Kenya’s third representative in the one-lap race Gladys Musyoki posted a personal best 53.41 but still had to wait for a ‘fastest loser’ spot to join her compatriots in today’s semi-finals.
Boniface Mweresa went off very fast in the third of the 400m heats but was overhauled in the home straight and could only finish sixth, while team-mate Collins Omae had earlier finished last in his attempt to progress. Kiprono Koskie trailed in last in a high quality opening heat of the 100m Hurdles.