Uganda's Moses Ndiema Kipsiro upstaged former World champion and Beijing Olympics silver medallist Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya to win the 5000 metres, the first gold medal in the track and field action of the Commonwealth Games, at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Kipsiro, no stranger to Indians, having come second in the Sunfeast 10k in Bangalore in May this year, ran a calculated race, keeping a close watch on the Kenyan trio of Kipchoge, Mark Kiptoo and Vincent Yator, and at the same time keeping quite a lot in reserve for the final assault.
The pace never picked up on this hot and humid day, though it was clear that the top runners, as usual, were playing a waiting game. It was only with around six laps to go that the Kenyans started pushing ahead, having been content to go along with the pack.
With five to go, 24-year-old Kipsiro took over and he never let that advantage slip though it was a near blanket finish at the end, reminiscent of many of the Haile Gebrselassie-Paul Tergat duels in the 10,000 metres.
Kipchoge, World champion in 2003 and silver winner in 2007, did everything to match Kisiro through the final 400 metres, but in the end it was the Ugandan who showed that much extra on the straight to hold off the Kenyan.
This was only the fourth placing over Kipchoge for the Ugandan in their 11 meetings. Never before had Kipsiro won a title at the expense of Kipchoge.
In the two meetings this season when the two had clashed the honours were even, Kipsiro finishing third in Rome to Kipchoge's 12th place finish and the Kenyan coming second in London in July to the Ugandan's fifth place.
Indians Sunil Kumar (14:18.99) and Sandip Kumar (14:22.59) came 14th and 16th respectively.
The start of the athletics programme was made possible after a large workforce worked overtime through the previous night to set the ground and the track right following the damage caused because of the opening ceremony and related matters.
Reasonably good show
The Indians did reasonably well on this day, with Manjeet Kaur (52.75s) winning her 400m heat and Mandeep Kaur (52.48s), coming third in another heat, also making it to the semifinals.
Abdul Najeeb Qureshi clocked a personal best 10.30s that equalled the National record of Anil Kumar set here in 2005, to finish fourth in the second round and qualify for the semifinals. He had timed his previous best of 10.38s while coming fifth in the Asian Grand Prix in Bangalore this season.
Qureshi had earlier clocked 10.40s while winning his 100m heat to provide a surprise and cheer to the 8,000-strong crowd. B.G. Nagaraj and Krishnakumar Rane were eliminated in the second round.
Nagarj timed 10.69s for a sixth-place finish while Krishnakumar Rane clocked 10.61s for the fifth place in his heat
Satti Geetha clocked a personal best 11.80s while qualifying as one of the ‘best losers' in the women's 100 metres first round, finishing fifth in her heat while H.M.Jyothi came fourth in her heat in 11.81s to move into the next round.
Pankaj Dimri, the great Indian hope in the men's 800 metres, was reportedly out of the race even before it had begun. He was recovering from a minor surgery required to treat a boil behind his thigh.
Dimri had clocked a sensational 1:46.26 in the National inter-State meet in Patiala in August to project himself as a contender among the Commonwealth toppers. His exit will be a great disappointment for those who were expecting big deeds from this youngster.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games 2010