Kenya bags two Commonwealth bronze medals
Kenya’s Commonwealth Games medal hunt began in earnest Sunday morning with Samuel Gathimba firing the first salvo with a bronze medal in the 20-kilometre walk.
Gathimba clocked one hour, 19 minutes and 51 seconds to finish behind gold medallist Dane Bird-Smith of Australia (1:19:34) and silver winner, Englishman Tom Bosworth (1:19:38).
Edward Zakayo later added a bronze for Kenya in an explosive 5,000 metres final at the Carrara Stadium.
An elated Gathimba said his medal will inspire Kenyan race walkers.
“I’m very proud. It was very tough but I did my best. My technique was good, and I love road walking. This medal will be good for Kenyan race walking,” he said.
His next focus now is the Africa Championships in Nigeria in July.
“Other than that, I’m not really sure yet about the future.”
Kenya’s second entry Simon Wachira was lower down at 12th (1:26:33).
The women’s walk, however, didn’t yield any medal with multiple African champion Grace Wanjiru winding up a commendable eighth in 1:42:23 and Lindah Waweru 11th in 1:53:41.
The medals went to Australia’s Jemima Montang (1:32:50), New Zealand’s Alana Barber (1:34:18) and Wales’ Bethan Davies (1:36:08) in that order.
The men’s 5,000m race was won by Uganda’s former world junior champion Joshua Cheptegei who surged forward at the bell and had to fight off the challenge of hitherto unheralded Canadian Ahmed Mohammed who battled for silver behind the Ugandan, with Zakayo holding on for third.
Cheptegei’s winning time was 13 minutes, 50.83 seconds with Mohammed timed at 13:52.78.
The other two Kenyans Nicholas Kipkorir and David Kiprotich were ninth and 11th respectively.
Zakayo, a form three student at the athletics-mad Kapsait Secondary School said he was happy with his first senior medal after his 3,000m silver in last year’s IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.
“We had planned to attack Cheptegei as a team but on the last lap, when I looked behind, I didn’t see anyone and that’s when I attacked but it was too late,” Zakayo said.
“Nine days before the race was too early as we lost the benefits of altitude. The Ugandans arrived just two days ago.”