Former World Junior champion Jackline Chepkoech announced her arrival to the senior level in style with a dominant victory in the women’s 3 000m steeplechase on Friday to give Kenya its second gold medal of this year’s Commonwealth Games.
Still only 18, Chepkoech took the race by the scruff of the neck right from the gun with Uganda’s Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai in tow.
The junior athlete was relentless, pushing the pace so hard that she soon dropped the Ugandan and kept going to win in a new championship record time of 9:15.68.
Home girl Elizabeth Bird won silver in a new personal best time of 9:17.79 while Chemutai, who suffered nasty fall with two laps to go, claimed bronze in in 9:23.24.
There was a touching moment at the end of the race as Chepkoech helped a clearly injured Chemutai off the track before she was wheeled away on a wheel chair.
Freshly minted 100m hurdles World record holder and world champion Tobi Amusan eased through to the finals of her specialty after another impressive run. The 25-year-old clocked 12.40s, which would have been a new Commonwealth Games record but for a +2.4m/s wind reading.
She will, however, be the odds-on favourite to win gold and possibly shatter the games record.
In the men’s 400m, Uganda’s Haron Adoli is through to the final after winning heat one in a new lifetime best of 45.80s. Boniface Mweresa of Kenya was second in 45.85s while Zambia’s Muzala Samukonga was second in heat two to qualify in 46.06s.
Malawian Asimwenye Simwaka will be the only African in the women’s 400m final after setting a new personal best time of 51.70 in heat one.
There will be three African teams in the men’s 4x400m relay final after Botswana quartet of Leungo Scotch, Keitumetse Maitseo, Anthony Pesela and Bayapo Ndori won heat one in 3:05.11 with Zambia’s team of Patrick Nyambe, Kennedy Luchembe, David Mulenga and Samukonga coming in third in 3:06.02.
Kenya won heat two in 3:06.76 with Mweresa anchoring a team that also included Wiseman Were, William Rayian and William Mutunga.
Ghana’s Joseph Paul Amoah will lead a three man African contingent in the 200m final after he came second in heat three in 20.51s. Nigeria’s Chudi Onwuzurike (20.59s) won heat two with Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme (20.69s) placing second.
In shot put, Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi finished just outside the medals after throwing 20.36m. New Zealand won gold and silver through Tom Walsh (22.26m) and Jacko Gill who set a new PB of 21.90m.
There were no problems for World silver medallist Ese Brume of Nigeria as she made the long jump final after a 6.81m jump. She will have compatriot Ruth Usoro and Ghana’s Deborah Acquah for company after they both qualified.
Former Commonwealth 800m champion Winnie Nanyondo will lead a trio of African ladies in the 1 500m final after winning her heat in 4:16.04. African champion Winny Chebet was third in same heat in 4:16.11 while Edinah Jebitok was third in the second heat in 4:13.84.