Kenyan Wins Osaka Gold

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"This was not the toughest marathon of my career, I felt comfortable despite the hot weather," Kibet, said.

 

Twenty year old Luke Kibet of Kenya persisted in the grueling heat until he snatched the men's marathon in the opening event on early Saturday, August 25, of the World Athletics Championships in Osaka-Japan.

To bag $ 60,000 the first prize, Kibet (24) a prison guard clocked 2 hours, 15 minutes and 59 seconds beating Mubarak Hassan Shami of Qatar (Kenyan born) by 1 minute and 19 seconds and a further 34 seconds ahead of a resurgent Viktor Rothlin of Switzerland.

Kibet’s gold follows Kenyan Douglas Wakiihuri’s 1987 Rome victory. Despite the exhausting heat, the temperature raising past 33 degrees Celsius by the time the runners completed the race at Nagai Stadium, Osaka-Japan. The Kenyan said he felt relaxed throughout the endurance test. "This was not the toughest marathon of my career, I felt comfortable despite the hot weather," Kibet, said.

The soaring mercury started to take its toll around the halfway mark and Kibet broke away from a large pack before pulling away from a small leading group, including Shami, with about eight kilometers remaining.

Kibet made his progress after 90 minutes on the road, breaking free of compatriot William Kiplagat, Shami and Eritrea’s Yared Asmarom in the leading group. Japan's Tsuyoshi Ogata rallied from 15th place at the halfway mark and briefly held fourth spot before fading to finish in fifth, leading a trio of Japanese runners.

Ogata, who won a bronze medal at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki, was disappointed with his finish. "I wanted to get a medal today, the color wasn't important," he said. 

 

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