Purity Kirui leads Kenya clean sweep in steeplechase

Purity Kirui and Milcah Chemos lead the pack

Kenya’s strong tradition in the 3000m steeplechase for men, was upheld by their female counterparts. Purity Kirui took gold in a time of 9:30.36 and led two other Kenyans team-mates Milcah Chemos Cheywa who came to the games on a wildcard was second in 9:31.30 and Joan Kipkemoi took bronze in 9:33.34 to complete a podium sweep.

The win by Kirui who was the 2012 world junior champion was Kenya’s 5th gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games and Kenya’s second podium sweep.

And it was a mirror image of 2010 when Kenya also swept the medal podium. In 2010 in Delhi, Chemos led Njoroge and Gladys Kipkemoi to the podium sweep as Kenyan became the first nation to repeat a medal sweep at the women’s water and barriers race at the Commonwealth.

The Kenyan trio shook off the competition at the bell. With 50m to go, Kirui and Chemos went stride for stride, with Chemos, on the outside and Kirui on the inside. Chemos put on a determined fight but the younger Kirui found the extra gear and resolve over the last 20m to grab gold.

The fight for bronze was just as epic as Kipkemoi had to fend off the fast finishing Australian pair of Madeline Heiner and Genevieve Lacaze who timed 9:34.01 and 9:44.65, for bronze, only a second second ahead of the fourth finisher.

Is Purity Kirui the future ?

Milcah Chemos who won this event at the 2010 edition was gunning to retain her title. But given that she has had an underwhelming 2014 season, its possible to conclude that at age 28, we may have seen the best of her, barring a miraculous comeback in 2015. This leaves Purity Kirui as Kenya’s biggest hope in this event. At age 22, Purity has a promising future in this event. And Kenya will need her to step forward and carry the mantle of Kenyan hopes now that the Ethiopians Ayalew and Assefa as well as the  American Emma Coburn have suddenly have world beaters and dominated this event in the diamond league.


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