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Keneth Renju runs away with Prague Half Marathon title

Kenya’s Keneth Kiprop Renju used experience to snatch the title at the 23rd edition of the Prague Half Marathon that was held on Saturday (2) in Prague, Czech Republic.

The 25 year-old battled for honors in one of the deepest field ever assembled at this course as he battled the top four favorite’s athletes, Philemon Kiplimo the eight fastest athlete in history of 21k, Kennedy Kimutai and Mathew Kimeli.

Renju took off from the group of eight at the last few hundred metres as the race was decided by kicks as the chase for the tape came almost to the wire tape but he was more superior running away with the tape in a time of 59:28 with the race favorite forced to settle in second place five seconds later.

“It was difficult today; the wind was blowing a lot. We took turns with the boys, but it was a fight. I’m glad that after two years I showed a beautiful performance again and I believe that it will be even better. Because I’m trained,” said Renju.

Mathew Kimeli who came to this race with the fourth fastest time on paper closed the podium three finishes in a time of 59:46.

Benard Kimeli, the winner of the last two editions could not manage to appear on the podium finishing in fourth in 59:59.

Weldon Langat Kipkirui and Josphat Chumo Kiptoo finished in fifth and sixth place in a time of 1:00.57 and 1:01.04 respectively.

Africa Cross Country Champion Alfred Barkach, who is the most experienced runner in this field finished in a disappointing seventh place in 1:01.01.

The fifteen years race course record of 58:47 that was set by Atsedu Tsegay from Ethiopia remains standing.

LEADING RESULTS
21KM MEN

  1. Kenneth Kiprop Renju           (KEN) 59:28
  2. Philemon Kimaiyo Kiplimo  (KEN) 59:33
  3. Mathew Kimeli Kipkorir        (KEN) 59:46
  4. Benard Kimeli                          (KEN) 59:59
  5. Weldon Langat Kipkirui         (KEN) 1:00.57
  6. Josphat Chumo Kiptoo           (KEN) 1:01.04
  7. Alfred Barkach Chelal             (KEN) 1:01.01

Hellen Obiri targets the podium at Istanbul Half Marathon

Double world champion, Hellen Obiri will be making her comeback at the 44th edition of the Istanbul Half Marathon that will be held on March 27, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The 31 year-old made her half marathon debut here in 2020 where she ran an exceptional time of 1:04.51 that made her the fourth-fastest Kenyan of all-time over the distance.

Obiri has gained experience in half marathon running since her debut. She has put her focus on road races, she won the Great North Run in last September with a time of 1:07.42 and recently she displayed her great form when she finished second at the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon that was held last month, where she also improved on her personal best to 1:04.22.

The World Cross Country Champion is now ranked the fifth fastest half marathon runner of all time. “I am so happy to be returning to Istanbul. I ran my half marathon debut in this race last year and I hope I can improve both my position and my time on this occasion,” Obiri said.

The race organizers have lined up for Ethiopians who have personal best of sub 1:07.00 that will also face Obiri in the coming three weeks time.

The 2021 Copenhagen half marathon champion, Tsehay Gemechu leads the four athletes as she comes to this race with the second fastest time on paper of 1:05.08.

The 23 year-old has an impressive half marathon record with four wins out of five races. Hawi Feysa was second behind Gemechu in Copenhagen in September, when she ran a personal best of 1:05.41 in her debut.

Nigsti Haftu and Bekelech Gudeta are the other title contenders and they come to this race with their personal best of 1:06.17 and 1:06.54. Haftu got her all time best at last year’s Valencia Half Marathon where she finished in sixth place while Gudeta got her lifetime best at this race in last year’s edition where she finished in position seven.

The two times Olympic 5000m silver medallist is ready to battle the four and she is looking forward to the challenge on the flat course.

“My training has been going on well but I know it will be a tough challenge as the field is very strong. I look forward to an exciting race in a beautiful city, “said Obiri.

The four athletes have been put together by the race organizer to chase the race course record of 1:04.02 that was set last year by Ruth Chepngetich from Kenya. This time still stands as the world record because it has been ratified by the World Athletics.

The current world half marathon record holder is Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia who broke the previous mark by more than a minute in 2021 in Valencia.

Geoffrey Rono wins the Nairobi Cross Country Championships

Geoffrey Rono took the top honors at the Nairobi Cross Country Championships senior men’s 10km race that was held on Saturday (15) at the Kenya Prisons Service ground.

The 21-year-old took charge of the five lap race after the 4km mark and he never looked back cutting the tape in 27:49.1 with his compatriot Musa Mitei coming home in second in 27:56.1. Meshak Letim closed the first three podium finishes in 28:11.8.

LEADING RESULTS

10KM MEN

  1. Geoffrey Rono        27:49.1
  2. Musa Mitei             27:56.1
  3. Meshak Letim        28:11.8
  4. Andrew Lorot        28:26.2
  5. Stephen Kipkech   28:34.7

Coach John Lees banned for lifetime

A British athletics coach has been banned for life for sexual misconduct John Lees was found guilty of five charges and he admitted to other counts.

The independent appeal committee, chaired by Jane Mulcahy QC, found him guilty of five charges relating to his misconduct towards athletes.

An additional two charges were admitted by Lees, who was based in Edinburgh.

The panel concluded: “We are left with the view that [Lees] habitually behaved inappropriately, had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.”

Scottish cross-country champion Mhairi Maclennan was one of the athletes to testify against Lees.

Waiving her right to anonymity, she said: “For me, today marks what I hope to be the end of a very long journey.

“This experience has certainly tested me in ways I never imagined possible. I’m immensely proud of all the athletes that have spoken up in this case, and I stand with all athletes, past and present, from our group.

“I hope that our story helps to change the narrative and sets a precedent that athletes will no longer suffer in silence.”

Lees had appealed against the decision in February to ban him from coaching and also against the length.

On Thursday, charges against Lees were found proven by the appeal panel of sexual touching, making a sexualised comment to a female athlete, endangering an athlete’s safety by “causing injury by administering a chiropractic adjustment” and providing chiropractic adjustments while not being appropriately qualified.

The further charges admitted by Lees related to massaging an athlete at his home address when she was under 18, and making inappropriate and sexualised comments to athletes in his training group.

British athletics John Lees (pictured) has been given a life ban for sexual misconduct

UK Athletics’ (UKA) submission to the appeal panel said: “[Lees] has shown a blatant disregard for the rules and an insistence on doing things his way… he could not even acknowledge that what he did was wrong.”

The panel concluded that his conduct was “very serious”.

It added: “Further, we are very troubled by his attitude and his continuing failure… to take any responsibility or to accept his conduct was wanting in any way.

“Our unanimous view is that [his] conduct and failure to accept any need for change renders him untrustworthy and unsuitable to work as a UKA licensed coach now or in the future.

“We have therefore decided that the appropriate sanction is the permanent withdrawal of [his] UKA coaching licence.”

The panel concluded: ‘We are left with the view that he habitually behaved inappropriately, had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.’

The UKA’s interim chief executive, Mark Munro, said: ‘We are pleased with the decision by the panel.

‘Athletics cannot tolerate the type of behaviour highlighted in this case. This decision shows that the welfare is at the front and centre of UK Athletics’ and at the heart of what we stand for.’

Sasha Zhoya runs away with the 2021 European Rising Star of the Year title

European U20 110m hurdles champion Sasha Zhoya was crowned as the men Rising Star at the Golden Tracks award ceremony that was held on Saturday (16) evening in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Femke Bol from Dutch is also the European 400m hurdles record-holder Femke Bol was also feted as the women’s Rising Star.

Zhoya also went into the record books in a glorious two months in the 110m hurdles. The Frenchman clocked four of the seven fastest times in history over the barriers at U20 level, including world records of 12.93 and 12.72 at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi to chop a dizzying 0.27 off the previous record.

The 19-year-old surpassed the world U20 record at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn with 12.98 but the time could not be ratified due to a slightly illegal tailwind. However, Zhoya did revise the championship record with 13.05 in the final to win the first of two major championship gold medals this summer.

The pair were presented with their trophies by European Athletics Vice Presidents Libor Varhanik and Jean Gracia respectively.

Bol raced extensively both indoors and outdoors, winning eight successive races indoors in the 400m which culminated with gold medals in both the 400m and 4x400m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships.

She also won 11 of her 12 races in the 400m hurdles outdoors, her only loss coming when she finished third at the Olympics but in Tokyo she smashed Yuliya Pechonkina’s long-standing European record with a time of 52.03.

Summary of Golden Tracks award winners 

  • Women’s European Athlete of the Year – Sifan Hassan (NED)
  • Men’s European Athlete of the Year – Karsten Warholm (NOR)
  • Women’s Rising Star – Femke Bol (NED)
  • Men’s Rising Star – Sasha Zhoya (FRA)
  • European Athletics Community Award – Maria Andrejczyk (POL)
  • European Athletics Women’s Leadership Award – Ana Krstevska (MKD)
  • Member Federation Award – Georgina Drumm (IRL)
  • European Athletics Coaching Award – Hansruedi Kunz (SUI)

 

Purity Chepkirui to battle Faith Kipyegon at KipKeino Classic

World U20 1500m women champion Purity Chepkirui, will be taking on her mentor Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon at the KipKeino Classic set for this Saturday (18) at the Moi International Sports Centre.

Through her facebook social media account, Chepkirui declared that she will not just be meeting Kipyegon for a handshake but for a competition on the course and track that she delivered to Kenya gold that had been missing since 2012 when Kipyegon won the title during the Barcelona championships in Spain.

“Happy at last am meeting my icon mentor Faith Kipyegon…not only for face to face but in the race I loved most…1,500m. KipKeino Classic Continental Tour Gold,” wrote Chepkirui.

The young athlete who aims to compete for Kenya at the 2024 Olympic Games won the Kenyan title in a time of 4:16.07 ahead of Ethiopian Diribe Welteji who took silver with Winnie Jemutai settling for bronze in 4:16.39 and 4:18.99 respectively.

Chepkirui trains in Tiloa, Keringet area of Nakuru County under Coach Michael Siele.

The junior runner will be chasing the title alongside Kipyegon, who is the two times Olympic Games 1,500m champion.

Michael saruni to face stiff challenge at World Continental Tour

Former world record holder for the indoor 600m champion Michael Saruni face off with Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Patryk Dobek from Poland at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial that will be held on Sunday (5) in Silesia, Poland, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting.

Saruni who is Coached by the 1988 Seoul Olympics 800m gold medalist Paul Ereng, will be looking out to redeem himself after faltering at Tokyo.

Dobek is the current European Indoor 800m Champion and he must be at his best to take victory in front of his home crowd.

Others in the start lineup include, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka, USA’s Clayton Murphy and British trio Daniel Rowden, Elliot Giles and Jake Wightman.

Jemal Yimer wins Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer is the new winner of the Antrim Coast Half Marathon that was held on Sunday (29) in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The 2018 African 10000 Athletics Champion won the race 60:29 as he edged out Tesfahun Akalnew also from Ethiopia who crossed the line in second place a second later.

Kenya’s Shadrack Kimining closed the first podium three finishes in 60:31.

Marck Scott from Northern Ireland and Nigel Martin from England took the fourth and fifth place in 1:00.34 and 1:03.21 respectively

The race course record of 60:21 that was set by Mo Farah remained intact.

 

Marco Arop beats Emmanuel Korir in Lausanne meet

Biwott,Karungu take honors at Wizz Air Skopje Marathon

 In the women’s race,  Jedidah Karungu from Kenya took the honors when she cut the tape in 2:51.24 and she was followed by Croatia’s Marija Vrajic in 3:02:00 with Macedonia’s Andrijana Pop Arsova closing the podium three in a new National record of 3:05.04.

LEADING RESULTS

MEN

  1. Evans Biwott   (KEN) 2:14.08
  2. John Langat      (KEN) 2:14.48
  3. Hosea Kiprotich  (KEN) 2:28.58

WOMEN

  1. Jedidah Karungu  (KEN) 2:51.24.
  2. Croatia’s Marija Vrajic CRO) 3:02.00),
  3. Andrijana Pop Arsova (MEC) 3:05.04