African Athletics: Kenya's Wanjiru sets new walk record

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Africa womenâ?s 20km defending champion Grace Wanjiru N jue set a new African record and retained her title as the Africa Senior Athleti c s championships entered its last day at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, K e nya, Sunday.
Wanjiru stopped the timer at 1:34.
19 to break the record set by South Africaâ?s Nicolene Cronje in Durban 1 August, 2004 which stood at 1:36.
Wanjiru completed the race in 1hr 34mins 19secs, clipping over four minutes off her old mark set in Addis Ababa in 2008.
All Africa Games champion, Tunisian and Arab Games champion, Chaima Trabelsi (1: 35:33) also finished under the old record, taking the silver, with Aynalem Eshet u of Ethiopia winning the bronze in 1:41:46.
The Kenyan, who took a year off to have a baby in 2009 and just returned to trai ning earlier this year, said she did not think it could happen.
"I am surprised to have won this race," she said, adding "having had a full year away from training, I didn't think I would be in the right shape to be competit i ve at all.
It feels great.
" Wanjiru attributed her record breaking feat from the cheers from the fans who ha d filled the stadium to capacity.
Ethiopiaâ?s Aynalem Eshetu Shefrawe was third by timing 1:41.
46 to record her s easonâ?s best time to deny Kenyaâ?s Emily Wamusyi Ngii the bronze medal winner, clocked 1:44.
Trabelsi said she was satisfied with her performance and was glad she had won a medal and was now going to get focused for other races.
Wanjiru said she is training her minds on the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and next month's Athletics World Cup in Split, Croatia and will start preparations i n earnest.
â?I am going to train with men so that they can give me competent training beca use I know the event is very competitive at the world stage,â? she quipped.
Two-time African champion and the 2006 Manchester Commonwealth Games silver meda list Kenyaâ?s David Kimutai was pipped to second place in the menâ?s 20km walk.
Tunisian champion Hassanine Sebei won men's gold in a personal best time 1:20:36 , pipping Kimutai who finished second in 1:22:07 for his seasonâ?s best.
Algeria's Hichem Medjeber took the bronze in his best performance of 1:22:53 as Tunisiaâ?s Hadi Teraoui clocked 1:23.
25 in fourth place for his personal best.
Hassanine said before the championships he trained in Morocco and Algeria, which are high altitude to acclimatize himself with the similar environment in Nairob i .
Kimutai, who was placed fourth in Ethiopia in 2008, said he will rest before emb arking on preparations for the Commonwealth Games in India in October but was no t disappointed by winning the silver.
Last year, in Berlin during the World Athletics Championships, Kimutai, aged 40, was one of only two African competitors in the gruelling race under hot conditi o ns on the streets of the German capital with the other African, being Hassanine w ho, finished 19th in 1:22.
Kenyaâ?s Sylvanus Wekesa was sixth with 1:25.
32 as Cameroonâ?s Ngnintendem Neg oum was seventh by timing 1:27.
44 and Ethiopiaâ?s Chernet Mikoro Aniso in eighth with 1:30.
Incidentally, Kimutai was 19th at last yearâ?s Beijing Olympics as Kimutai fail ed to impress in the 20-kilometre walk, fading off to a 32nd place finish in the race won by, as largely expected, Olympic champion Valeriy Borchin in one hour, 1 8 minutes and 41 seconds, his personal best time.

01 août 2010 15:33:00

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