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Unfancied Kinyamal strikes Kenya’s first top-podium position

Keith McGhie in Gold Coast @peoplesport11

Wycliffe Kinyamal finally ended Kenya’s week-long search for Commonwealth gold with a storming 800m victory at a packed Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast.

After three silvers and three bronzes in a hitherto largely disappointing Games, Kinyamal ran strongly throughout a frenetic two-lap race to win in a time of 1:45.11, just five hundredths of a second ahead of fast finishing Englishman Kyle Langford.

It was a well judged success by the 20-year-old Kenyan who shot to prominence with a stunning 1:43.94 at a meeting in Rovereto, Italy last August.

Kinyamal, second in the national trials, looked determined to settle for nothing but victory as he took the lead with 250m remaining and just held on to the finish.

Compatriot Jonathan Kitilit, who won the trials, looked like he might also medal but was swallowed up by the chasing pack and came home sixth in 1:46.12.

Kenya, who picked up 25 medals at the last edition of the ‘Club’ Games in Glasgow, now have seven and have climbed to 18th in the table.

There was disappointment for the nation in the 400m Hurdles final where 2105 World Champion Nicholas Bett and twin brother Haron Koech could only fill the minor placing as Kyron McMaster gave the British Virgin Islands their first ever gold medal.

Bett went out strongly but faded badly to come home last, whilst pre-race favourite McMaster dedicated his victory to his former coach Xavier Samuels who tragically died in Hurricane Irma which ravaged the tiny Caribbean Island last September. Koech finished sixth.

Janieve Russell continued Jamaica’s fine Games by taking gold in the women’s 400m Hurdles. Kenya’s Priscilla Tabunda ran a seasons best 14.18 but could only finish last in her heat of the women’s 100m hurdles, while Elijah Kimiti’s leap of 15.75 was 23cm short of getting into the top 12 qualifiers for Saturday afternoon’s men’s triple jump final.

Other gold medallists on day eight of competition were Kurtis Marschall, Australia (Pole Vault), Christabel Nettey, Canada (Long Jump), Dani Stevens, Australia (Discus), Zharnel Hughes, England (200m) and Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Bahamas (women’s 200m).boi in Glasgow 2014.

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