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Kirui carries Kenya’s hope for first gold in Gold Coast

Keith McGhie in Gold Coast @PeopleSports11

Kenya will bid to maintain their recent domination of the medals and repeat their clean sweep from Glasgow 2014 when Purity Kirui (pictured) defends her 3,000m steeplechase final at 12.45pm Kenyan time today.

Celliphine Chespol, still only 19 and the second fastest of all-time in the event, and another teenager Fancy Cherono, just 16, complete the Kenyan bid for honours. Chespol, one of only four women to break nine minutes for the discipline, failed to deliver on the big stage at last year’s London World Championships, fading to sixth place in a race unexpectedly won by the USA’s Emma Coburn.

Kirui, 26, was followed home four years ago by Dehli 2010 champion Milcah Chemos with Joan Kipkemoi claiming the bronze medal in Scotland. Indeed, not since the first time the women’s event was held in 2006, has Kenya failed to manage a clean sweep of the medals.

Two of Kenya’s three competitors in the men’s 800m eased through to tomorrow’s final with Wycliffe Kinyamal winning heat one in 1:45.56— the second fastest qualifying time—and Jonathan Kitilit taking heat three in 1:47.27.

But Cornelius Tuwei, despite finishing third in a second race won by defending champion and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos from Botswana, failed to claim a fastest losers spot so missed out.

Kenyan trials winner Nicholas Bett, the 2015 World 400m Hurdles champion, swept into the final with a heat-winning time of 49.24, while national champion Aaron Koech also progressed as a ‘fastest loser’ after finishing third in his heat in a season’s best 49.28.

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