Kenyan women sweep marathon, 10,000m at worlds
Olympic vault champ Hooker disappoints
Kenya swept the women's marathon and 10,000 metres at the world championship Saturday to finish a perfect six-for-six in medals. No nation has earned a two-event sweep on opening day since the championships started 28 years ago.
Edna Kiplagat crashed on the street late in the marathon only to recover and lead her nation to a win in two hours 28 minutes 43 seconds to claim the first gold medal of the competition.
Vivian Cheruiyot led her Kenyan countrywomen in the 10,000. All other challengers, including their Ethiopian rivals, failed to keep pace as Cheruiyot beat Sally Kipyego and defending champion Linet Masai.
Cheruiyot won in 30 minutes 48.98 seconds, holding an edge of 1.06 seconds over Kipyego. Cheruiyot will be seeking a long-distance double as she also is the defending champion in the 5,000.
In the marathon, Priscah Jeptoo was second and Sharon Cherop third.
"I hope this result will give motivation to our Kenyan team members," Jeptoo said.
Americans Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross easily advances to the semifinals Sunday — Felix with effortless grace and Richards-Ross putting in her big push in the final stretch to beat Jamaican rival Shericka Williams.
American decathlon favourites Trey Hardee and Ashton Eaton led the standings after three of 10 events, with Eaton losing the top spot to the defending champion after finishing 17th in the shot put.
Kenya's perfect start contrasted with the fortunes of Olympic 400 champion Christine Ohuruogu and Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker.
The British runner was disqualified for a false start in her opening heat and the defending pole vault champion from Australia failed to clear the qualifying height.
"Just mentally, it wasn't there," Hooker said. "I had no confidence in what I was doing out there. I wasn't feeling it."
Kiplagat certainly felt the stinging pain when she tangled up with Cherop at one of the last water stations and suddenly was on all fours.
"I was a little shocked," Kiplagat said. "What was in my mind was I wasn't sure if I was going to pick up the pace again."
Also shocked, Cherop helped pick up her veteran teammate and off they went again as a trio heading through the 80-degree morning heat and humidity of inland South Korea.
Kiplagat, a 31-year-old mother of two, embraced her teammates and gingerly walked away, arms interlocking to celebrate the victory.
David Rudisha added to Kenya's cheer, coasting in qualifying for an 800 metres.
The biggest shock early in the balmy evening session was the elimination of Ohuruogu. She could be one of the biggest local stars of the London Olympics next year, but she missed her chance to win another world title after a false start.
The 2007 world champion stood in stunned silence for more than a minute after she was disqualified for her false start and given a red card for jumping the gun in Heat 3 and was led off the track
Ohuruogu has been struggling this season, and even said she thought about skipping the meet in order to concentrate on defending her Olympic title next year in London.
Three weeks ago at Crystal Palace, Ohuruogu finished last.