Daegu: Abel Kirui successfully defended his marathon title in the world championships on Sunday, completing a Kenyan double in the event.
Kirui, who set a championship record two years ago in Berlin, won the race in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 38 seconds to claim Kenya`s seventh gold medal of the meet and reaffirm its dominance in the long distances.
Kenyan teammate Vincent Kipruto was second in 2:10:06, and Ethiopia`s Feyisa Lilesa followed in 2:10:32.
Last week, Edna Kiplagat led Kenta to a sweep in the women`s marathon.
With the victory, Kenya moved into second place behind the United States in the medals table.
Kirui made his move at about 20 miles, pulling ahead for good with Lilesa doing his best to prevent a Kenyan sweep. Kipruto and Lilesa then battled it out for second, with the Kenyan, who has the third-fastest marathon time this year, edging ahead at about 21½ miles.
The 27-year-old Kirui raised his arms in the air and pointed to the sky as he crossed the finish line. He then bowed and put his hands together as if to pray before doing a little dance and grabbing a Kenyan flag.
It was a perfect comeback for the Kenyan who has struggled with injuries since his win in Berlin.
Africans set the tone early in the race, with Mohale Modike Lucky of South Africa leading runners from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia down the streets of Daegu at about six miles. At about nine miles, Kipruto took the lead before giving it up a few minutes later to a surging Moroccan trio led by Ahmed Baday. The Kenyans fought right back, with Kirui leading the pack alongside teammate Eliud Kiptanui at about 12½ miles.
Just after the halfway point, a group of about six runners led by the Kirui, Kiptanui and Kipruto broke off from the rest of the pack. It was reduced to four men about three miles later, with only Lilesa managing to keep pace with the Kenyans.