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Mateiko leads Kenya’s clean sweep at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024 05:45 | By
Daniel Mateiko
Daniel Mateiko. PHOTO/World Athletics

Kenya’s Daniel Mateiko led a clean podium sweep as athletes from the East African nation dominated the men’s race during the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, on Saturday.

Making his third appearance in Ras Al Khaimah, the 26-year-old Mateiko lit up a foggy morning to storm home in a world-leading time of 58:45 and win by five seconds from his compatriot John Korir, who clocked 58:50, while Isaia Lasoi completed a Kenyan top three after clocking 58:55. Mateiko was always to the fore and he made his winning move in the final kilometre, leaving Korir and Lasoi to chase him to the finish line.

A delighted Mateiko was relieved to finally get a win in Ras Al Khaimah after finishing sixth on his debut in 2022 and runner-up to Benard Koech last year. “I was the fastest man in the field and I promised myself I’d win here after finishing sixth and then second last year,” said the charismatic 25-year-old, who dedicated his win to Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world record-holder, who died in a road traffic accident earlier this month.

“The conditions were very difficult – it was windy, humid, and a little foggy – so this is the best win of my career so far.”

In the women’s race, won by Ethiopia’s world cross country silver medallist Gebreselama, who improved her personal best by more than half a minute to close the tape in 1:05:14, Kenya’s best-placed athlete was Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, who came in fourth after clocking 1:06:31 while Evaline Chirchir finished fifth in a time of 1:06:36. Tanzania’s Jackline Sakilu was a surprise third, beating her personal best by more than three minutes with a national record of 1:06:05.

Another Kenyan, Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, one of the pre-race favourites and a three-time half marathon world champion, suffered a setback early on in the race when a shoe slipped off, costing her at least 20 seconds.

Gebreselama underlined why she is considered one of her country’s finest prospects and after passing 15km in 46:42, she alongside Yeshaneh broke away from the lead women’s group before Gebreselama forged ahead for victory.

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