OREGON22

Day 3 of World Champs; Joy, optimism and disappointment

Day three saw Kenyans clinch a silver medal in 10,000m, lose in the marathon and qualify for 1,500m men final

EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 17: Kumari Taki of Kenya competes in the Men's 1500 metres during the World Athletics Championships on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Astfalck/BSR Agency/Getty Images) Atletiekunie

Day three of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon can be summarised in three words for Kenya; Joy, optimism and disappointment.

The day saw Kenya fail to clinch a medal in the men's marathon, however, Team Kenya recovered courtesy of a 10,000m silver medal from Stanley Waithaka Mburu, before Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang secured a spot in the final of the men's 1,500m final.

In the morning session, three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor faltered in his quest to win his first world marathon.

Before the race, Kenya represented by Kamworor and Barnaba Kiptum was expected to secure a spot in the podium but to no avail.

On the morning of Sunday, July 17, the conditions were perfect for the world to witness an exciting marathon. At 6am as amateur athletes took part in the 5km race, Kamworor, Kiptum and their rivals were lined up ready to take off under the overcast.

The race which consisted of three 14km loops saw athletes run through the city of Eugene and famous Springfield – home of popular animated show, The Simpsons.

The race was slow at the start with athletes hitting about three minutes per kilometre, a pace not worthy of any championship record.

However, everything changed between the 33rd and 34th kilometre when Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola took off never to be seen again.

The 2017 silver medallist at the World Championships in London injected a pace not seen throughout the race, running at a pace of 2:43, the Ethiopian was in a race of his own, literally.

Left chasing behind was a pack of four; Tola's compatriot Mosinet Geremew, Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi, Kamworor and Canada’s Cameron Levins.

At the finish line in a time of 2:05:36, Tola not only was the champion of the World but also the new championship record holder after obliterating the previous record of 2:06:54, set by Abel Kirui of Kenya at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

Few seconds later, the chasing pack emerged led by Geremew at a time of 2:06.44 just four seconds faster than Abdi in 2:06.48 to round off the podium.

A visibly exhausted Kamworor, participating in his first major championship since his boda-boda accident in 2020, crossed the finish line in fifth in 2:07:14, behind Levins, 2:07:09.

A couple of hours after the marathon, 22-year-old Stanley Waithaka Mburu beat the odds and inspired an entire nation after clinching the silver medal in the men’s 10,000m final despite a fall in the first lap.

From the start, it was quite obvious the Ugandans were on a mission to claim a Gold and Silver. From the halfway point in 14:01.3, Cheptegei and Kiplimo would exchange places at the lead of the pack.

With two kilometres to go, 15 athletes were still in contention to win but that swiftly changed with two laps to go as seven athletes dropped off the pack.

At the bell Ethiopia's Berihu Aregawi, the 2021 Diamond League champion, held the lead but it was short-lived as Cheptegei hit the front with 300m to go, a move that cemented his place at the top of the podium.

Despite Cheptegei's dominance, the star of the day was Mburu, the 2018 world U20 silver medallist at 5000m. Despite a stumble in the opening lap, the 22-year-old managed to beat Kiplimo at the finish line at a time of 27:27.90.

1,500m duo Abel Kipsang and Timothy Cheruiyot will be aiming to put a stop to Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen's dominance after claiming a spot in the 1,500m final set for early morning on Wednesday, July 20.

Kenyan champion Kipsang, comfortably won his semi-final heat in a time of 3:33.68 seconds. Cheruiyot, silver-medallist during 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games finished fourth in his semi-final in a time of 3:37.04.

Sadly, 2015 World Youth Championships, and 2016 World U20 Championships gold medallist, Kumari Taki failed to make it into the finals after falling in the second semi-final. Taki finished last in 3:50.15.

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