Nearly gold, as Simbu finishes second behind Uganda

Saturday July 30 2022
Simbu pix

Silver medallist Tanzania's Alphonce Felix Simbu (C), gold medallist Uganda's Victor Kiplangat (R) and bronze medallist Kenya's Michael Mugo Githae react after the men's Marathon final on day two of the Commonwealth Games at Smithfield in Birmingham, central England, on July 30, 2022. AFP

By AFP

Victor Kiplangat produced an impressive performance to give Uganda their first-ever Commonwealth Games marathon gold in Birmingham on Saturday.

The 22-year-old timed 2hr 10min 55sec, coming home with a broad grin on his face more than a minute and a half clear of Tanzania's 2017 world bronze medallist Alphonce Felix Simbu.

The race saw Tanzania’s Alfred Simbu  and Kenya’s Michael Githae come second and third respectively as East Africa completed a medal sweep.

It’s the best placement for Uganda at this stage after Solomon Mutai clinched Silver at the 2018 games in Gold Coast.

Stephen Kiprotich won 2012 London Olympics and 2013 World Championships titles but no Ugandan had ever won a gold medal marathon at Commonwealth Games before Saturday.

It’s the first medal for Uganda at the ongoing games, and medal number 56 overall (17th gold) at the games competed for by former British colonies.

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Kiplangat will be turning 23 in November and he will surely believe that this is the start of many achievements to come.

He won the World Mountain Running Championships (2017) but that cannot compare to his Marathon title in Birmingham.

He kept himself inside the leading pack as Australia’s Liam Adams dictated pace.

But as the pack approached 25km, Kiplangat fancied his tank and started to run bold.

He broke away from Tanzania’s Alfred Simbu just after 31km and he passed 35km in a time of 1:47:09.

And he powered home in a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds on his championship marathon debut.

He this year in April won Hamburg Marathon in a time of 2:05:0