Kenya go 1-2 in marathon
Abel Kirui wins the mens marathon in Berlin with Emmanuel Mutai in second.
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2009 18:13 GMT

Kenya's Abel Kirui reaches the Brandenburg Gates first [AFP]
Abel Kirui won the men's marathon at the World Championships, and Kenyan teammate Emmanuel Mutai finished second to give the African country a 1-2 finish.

On a sunny, mild day, the 27-year-old Kirui crossed the line at the Brandenburg Gate to finish the flat, winding course in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 54 seconds, a world championships record.

Mutai took silver in 2:07.48, and Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia claimed the bronze in 2:08.35.

"The race was very tactical,'' Kirui said. "It was a field of strong athletes. My tactic is only that I maintain my shape ... I keep myself disciplined and then I won it.''

The Kenyan raised his arms as he crossed the tape, then danced a little jig.

"Joy is joy, you need to at least show it,'' Kirui said.

Mutai, who was running in his first race for his country, vomited as he ran the final stretch through downtown Berlin.

After crossing the line, he jumped into Kirui's arms and the two celebrated Kenya's strong showing.

"The race was very good for me,'' Mutai said. "We had agreed at the first that let us work as a team so that we can win a title and individual titles.''

And that's exactly what they did.


Robert Cheruiyot, a four-time Boston Marathon winner from Kenya, set the pace for the lead group of Kirui, Mutai and Deriba Merga of Ethiopia, hoping to wear the Ethiopian down.

The foursome opened a commanding lead on the rest of the field by the 30-kilometre mark, and only Kebede and teammate Deressa Chimsa were still in medal contention by then, 8 seconds back.

"All I wanted was for us to win as a team,'' said Cheruiyot, who finished fifth.

"Even my teammates told me I was going too fast. Only when I saw that two Kenyans would be on the podium did I relax.''

Cheruiyot faded around 35 kilometers and fell back, seemingly leaving Kirui, Mutai and Merga to fight for the spots on the podium.

But the blistering pace also took its toll on Merga, and the Ethiopian faded. He did not finish the race.

Instead, Kebede moved into third and picked up the bronze for Ethiopia.

"I came here hoping to win,'' Kebede said. "At a certain point I didn't expect we'd get this, but finishing third and fourth is pretty good.''

Defending champion Luke Kibet of Kenya did not compete in Berlin.

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