The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Jelimo Is On Track

Olympic champion runs first sub 2-minute 800m after two seasons spent on the sidelines due to injury

Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo clawed a sub 2-minute second place performance at the Lievin indoor meeting in her fight towards a full return to racing after two season out with injury. Jelimo clocked 1:59.10 for second in a race that was won by Moroccan Malika Akkaoui in a world leading 1:59.01 while Russia's Yuliya Tutayeva was third in 2:00.18.

Jelimo's return was a manifestation of the hard work she has been doing in training and speaks volumes about her desire to return to the once formidable Jelimo who ruled the two lap race in 2008, culminating in an Olympic gold medal and an IAAF Golden Jackpot win. In the French race, Jelimo placed herself among the leading pack just after the gun, then she put on her characteristic powerful front running and was set for victory before a powerful sprint from Akkaoui saw the Kenyan lose out. This was an encouragement for the 22 year-old after her 4:07.11 attempt in a 1,500m race in Dusseldorf on February 10 was disqualified for cutting in too early.

In the men's race Timothy Kiptum posted 1:45.96 for second place after he ran just a second slower of Poland's Adam Kszczot who clocked 1:44.57. Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy was third in 1:46.08.

In the men's 1,500m, Silas Kiplagat ran 3:35.26 to finish third behind Moroccos's Abdalaati Iguider (3:34.10) and Turkey's Ozbilen Ilham Tanui (3:35.26). Edwin Soi led Isaiah Koech in a 1-2 finish in the men's 3,000m steeplechase. Soi posted 7:32.56, Koech ran 7:32.89 while Ethiopia's Alamirew Yenem was third in 7:33.30.

Elsewhere Athletics Kenya have written to foreign missions in the country requesting they take due care in the issuance of visas to athletes who have no clearance letters from the federation. Kiplagat complained an alarming number of athletes have had to be deported back to the country after being discovered residing in foreign countries illegally.

Kiplagat was speaking at Riadha House yesterday where the federation received Sh5.24m from KCB ahead of Saturday's KCB/AK national cross country-cum-trials at Uhuru Gardens. "We are getting worried by the number of athletes who have returned to the country in the recent past," said Kiplagat.

He revealed that two athletes have been deported for taking part in unauthorised races in Venezuela, one from India and 13 from Germany. "We are certain that some sub agents have been sending these athletes to take part in these races just for the money," Kiplagat observed.

He said AK will have a meeting tomorrow with the agents based in Kenya in efforts to come to an understanding on the matter. "Our theme this year is education," said Kiplagat adding that this was inspired by the 'disastrous' results posted by athletes during last years Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. "Most of our athletes performed below par and we are urging parents and guardians to ensure young athletes are not destroyed through too much running," Kiplagat said. "It is immoral for somebody to use these athletes to gain money by destroying their lives. Let education be the way forward," he concluded.

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