After a long and anxious wait Kenyans bagged their first medals
Kenya’s age-long dominance in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the Olympics Games came to a painful but expected end as Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali became the first non Kenya to win the water and barriers event.
Prior to the finals at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, Kenya’s men had won the title in a record 11 Olympic games editions, from 1968 in Mexico City (Amos Biwwot) to 2016 Rio Olympics (Conseslus Kipruto), only missing out on the 1976 and 1980, editions when the country boycotted the games.
African Games Champion Benjamin Kigen who eventually won bronze yesterday and Abraham Kibiwott will go down the history books as the two athlete who let the dominance go.
Day four of track and field proceedings at the Tokyo Games saw Kenya wait for an Olympic gold medal dashed as world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri failed in her bid for top honours as she settled for silver once again just like she did in Rio.
Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan going for unprecedented treble won gold in 14:36.79. Obiri was unable to cope with her Dutch rival’s sprinting power in the final 300m, she was second in 14:38.36.
Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay won bronze and Agnes Tirop was fourth while Lilian Kasait was a distant 12th.
Obiri who could still vie for a gold medal as she is listed for the 10,000m final, had looked comfortable in the lead with four laps to go with Tirop and Tsegay also vying for the lead just a stride behind the world champion.
Back to the steeplechase, Bakkali, the World bronze medallist took the gold away from Kenyans when he clocked 8:08.90.
World silver medallist Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia also 8:10.38.
Kigen placed third in 8:11.45 to bag a bronze medal while Kibiwott was tenth in 8:19.4.
The day ended with Kenya winning her first two medals if the Games, significantly though, the results means the country has already relinquished two gold medals from Rio Games five years.