Kenyans have hailed Abel Kirui's victory in the World Athletics Championship men's marathon race, saying the win enhanced Kenya's chances of finishing third overall in the world.
Kirui, won the grueling 42.195km event in two hours six minutes 54 seconds followed by compatriot Emmanuel Mutai in 2:07:48, while Ethiopia's Tesgay Kebede was third in 2:08:35.
And apart from the gold and silver medal haul in the race, sports lovers here took pride in the fact that rank outsider Kirui, retained the gold medal for Kenya despite of the absence of defending champions Luke Kibet and Catherine Ndereba, winners of the men and women's marathon respectively at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
"Defending champions Kibet and Ndereba skipped the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Berlin, but even in their absence, Kenyan retained the men's marathon gold today. I hope Kenyan will do the same in tomorrow's women's marathon final," athletics fan James Onyango told Xinhua on Sunday.
Veteran sports journalist, Chris Mbaisi, attributed the victory to a well-executed race plan and superb individual skills.
"They were not just chasing the gold medal, they planned the race well and used their brains in winning the race," said Mbaisi in a post-race analysis on state broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) TV.
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2009)