Joyce Zakary set a new Kenya record in the women’s 400m during the heats at the 2015 world athletics championships with a time of 50.71. Zakary whose name has been spelled variously as Joy Sakari and Joyce Zackary and various combinations thereof, was the co-holder of the previous record at 51.56. The record was originally set by the legendary Ruth Waithera in 1984. Zakary equaled the record in 2009. Thus the record had lasted 31 years!
Zakary also becomes the first Kenyan to dip below the 51.00 second mark. Running in lane 3, Zakary looked out of contention at the 250m mark. She started to gain ground and by the 350m mark she had established herself in second position. She continued to close the gap on the leader but slowed down towards the end after having secured a qualifying spot. In essence, she would have lowered the record even further had she tried.
Maureen Jelagat Maiyo, who previously represented Kenya in the 400m hurdles, also dipped below the previous record and is now the second fastest Kenyan ever in the one lap event. She clocked 51.40 to qualify for the next stage based on her time. She finished 4th in heat 2
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