Mateelong returns to fitness in Meru
Provided by IAAF
Meru, Kenya - Commonwealth and Africa 3000m Steeplechase titleholder, Richard Mateelong, was the toast of the meet with a hard fought victory in the men 5000m as the 2012 NBK/AK National Track and Field Series wrapped up at Kinoru Stadium in Meru on Saturday (28).
Mateelong, the 2010 IAAF VTB Bank Continental Cup Steeplechase winner, who endured a lackluster campaign last season edged out the spirited challenge over the last 50m from 2010 World Indoor 3000m bronze medallist, Sammy Alex Mutahi to romp home in 14:13.4 in the signature performance of the seventh and final meet of the series.
"This is part of my build-up for the Olympic Games and I am happy I emerged top," said the Berlin World silver and Beijing Olympic bronze medallist steeplechaser after his victorious run in his first outing of the domestic circuit this season.
The Kenya Police instructor was using the longer race to build on his endurance but he did not have it all his own way as Mutahi gave him a fight to the last after the pair hit the bell toe to toe before the steeplechaser found the kick that settled the affair.
The Doha medallist was compelled to accept second place in 14:13.8 as Dominic Rotich arrived a distance back in third in 14:47.5 to share the podium.
Mateelong who had knee trouble last season declared he would race at least two Samsung Diamond League races before contesting a place in the London Olympics team during the July Kenyan Trials.
"My shape has returned after struggling last year and now I’m focusing on making the Kenyan team for my second Olympics in London," he added.
Commonwealth 3000m Steeplechase silver winner Mercy Njoroge completed a double after adding the women’s 5000m to her 1500m victory she secured on Friday (27).
The Kenya Defence Force runner stopped the clock in 16:53.3 to win the race well ahead of Nancy Kathuga, who was timed at 17:21.7 for second after running the last three laps unhindered. Phyllis Kiptoo returned 17:38.8 for bronze.
"I came here to test my endurance and now I’m confident about my chances ahead of the outdoor season," Njoroge stated.
Jedidah Wanjiru took advantage of Njoroge's absence in her specialty to win the race in 11:06.1 ahead of Ann Wabera in way second with 11:21.7 on the clock as home runner Betty Karambu finished third in 11:22.1.
The men’s 3000m Steeplechase was won by Cornelius Kosgei in 9:09.2 who took off from the field barely 1500m into the race to leave the field that was led by runner-up Kimathi Karwa (9:22.3) and third placed Josphat Mateelong (9:27.3) trailing in his wake.
Former double Africa Junior champion, Geoffrey Rono marked a major return to winning ways when he took the men’s 800m in 1:50.7.
Rono who bagged the 1500m title as well in the 800m at the 2005 Africa Junior championships left his rivals in his slipstream with David Too finishing in 1:51.3 for second and Robert Maritim third in 1:52.2.
The corresponding women’s race was won by 18-year-old Cecilia Maria who clocked 2:23.2 to win the race ahead of Julietta Aroma (2:13.9) and Jedidah Wanjiru (2:14.3).
On Friday, Nathan Mathenge (3:52.9) led Stephen Mungathia (3:54.3) and Charles Rono (3:54.6) across the line for the men 1500m crown.
The conclusion of the series paves way for the institutional championships lead by the Kenya Defense Forces Championships next week as the protracted journey to London Olympics that will culminate with the National Trials gathers steam.
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF
(Results/race reports thanks to Athletics Kenya)
100m: Simon Kimaru 10.9, Alvin wekesa 11.1, John Kituu 11.2;
200m: Solomon Buoga, 22.4, 2. John Kiptoo 22.6, 3. George Kwoba 22.8;
400m: Lewis Kituu 48.2, 2. Solomon Buoga 48.5, 3. Vincent Makori 48.7;
800m: Geoffrey Rono 1:50.7, David Too 1:51.3, 3. Robert Maritim 1:52.2;
1500m: 1. Nathan Mathenge 3:52.9, Stephen Mungathia 3:54.3, Charles Rono 3:54.6; 5000m: 1. Richard Mateelong 14:13.4, 2. Sammy Mutahi 14:13.8, 3. Dominic Rotich 14:47.5;
3000m Steeplechase: Cornelius Kosgei 9:09.2, 2. Kimathi Karwa 9:22.3, 3. Josphat Mateelong 9:27.3.
Hammer: Dominic Abunda 57.57m, Remmy Monyancha 50.80m, 3. Boaz Monyancha 50.75m;
5000m Race Walking: Dennis Kithinji 30:57.5, 2. Augustime Munene 33:21.1, 3.Moses Mutunga 34:02.1;
100m: Joy Zakari 11.8, Jentrix Nelima 12.5, 3. Getrude Opollo 12.7;
200m: 1. Joy Zakari 24.5, 2. Getrude Opollo 25.8, 3. Grace Kidake 26.0;
800m: Cecelia Maria 2:13.2, 2. Julietta Aroma 2:13.9, 3. Jedidah Wanjiru 2:14.3;
5000m: 1. Mercy Njoroge 16:53.3, 2. Nancy Kathuge 17:21.7, 3. Phylis Kiptoo 17:33.8;
3000m Steeplechase: Jedidah Wanjiru 11:06.1, 2. Ann Wabera 11:20.6, 3. Betty Karambu 11:22.1;
Hammer: 1. Saum Salim 28.34m, 2. Jemimah Ndani 22.59m, 3. Purity Kunyanyi (18:15m)