Cheruiyot extends winning streak World Continental Tour Final

Nairobi (AFP) –

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Kenyan 1500m star Timothy Cheruiyot finished the season unbeaten for the second year in a row at Saturday's finals of the World Athletics Continental Tour, one of the first major sporting events in Africa since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

In front of a crowd limited to 1,800 spectators in line with Covid-19 protocols, reigning world champion Cheruiyot overcame a hamstring injury to hold off the challenge of compatriot Kumari Taki and maintain a winning streak that started in May 2019.

Cheruiyot clocked a time of 3:34.31, with Taki returning 3:35.00 in second while Abel Kipsang rounded out the podium (3:35.43).

"I am happy with my victory today though I was not fully fit having picked up an hamstring injury in training during the week," said Cheruiyot, who timed a world lead of 3:28.45 in Monaco last month.

"I am proud to finish the season unbeaten in front of my home fans.

"It feels good to end it on a winning tone especially at home, having won the Diamond League races in Monaco and Stockholm."

Britain's Kristal Awuah ran a personal-best 23.05sec in the women's 200m, one of five core events in the series which were axed from the elite Diamond League.

"This has been a diffcult season for the athletes," said Awuah. "But this has been the best thing for me getting my personal best. It is a lovely way to end the season I couldn't have asked for more."

Egypt's Bassant Hemida placed second in 23.13 with Zambia's Rodah Njobvu third (23.18).

- Chepkoech's steeple revenge -

Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech ended her losing steak in the women's 3000m steeplechase, another of the events dropped from the Diamond League.

The reigning world champion and record holder earned sweet revenge over compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng who denied her victory in the Berlin ISTAF meet in September, winning by 5sec in 9:29.05.

Commonwealth silver medallist Abraham Kibiwott won the men's steeplechase race, taking full advantage of the late withdrawal of both the Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto and current world bronze medallist Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco.

Kibiwott shrugged off the challenge of fellow Kenyan and world u-18 silver medallist Leonard Bett to breast the tape in 8:17.69.

World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri also ended her season on a high when she led world 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop in a repeat performance of the Doha Diamond League 3000m race.

The absence through injury of Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego in the men's javelin gave his protege Alexander Kiprotich the chance to shine on the day.

Kiprotich won with a throw of 76.71m ahead of Poland's Hubert Chmielak (75.47) and Timothy Herman of Belgium (75.18).

Ethiopian teenager Hailu Lemlem maintained her middle distance domination at altitude, winning the women's 1500m when she outsprinted her two Kenyans rivals Winny Chebet and Mercy Cherono.

The 19-year-old Lemlem, who won the World under 18 title in Nairobi three years ago, kicked at the bell and maintained her lead to the tape finishing in 4:06.42.