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Kenya Enjoys Golden Night at World Athletics


Kenyan athletes have won four medals, including two golds, on the fourth day of the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan. As VOA's David Byrd reports, the Kenyans won gold in both men's and women's races.

Kenya has traditionally dominated men's steeplechase, and Tuesday was no exception. Kenyans swept the medals with Olympic silver medalist Brimin Kiprop Kipruto taking gold in eight minutes, 13.82 seconds.

Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi was second, more than three seconds back (8:16.94), with Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong taking bronze (8:17.59).

Meanwhile, Kenya's Janeth Jepkosgei won gold in the women's 800 meters with a time of 1:56.04. Hasna Benhassi of Morocco took silver (1:56.99). Mayte Martinez of Spain won bronze (1:57.62). Jepkosgei said she knew she could not let up until she had the gold.

"I know that this is for a championship," she said. "There's no pacemaker and anybody can take it. If the pace is slow it is for everybody. And my pace is always high after I decided to go for it."

In the men's discus, Estonian Gerd Kanter, the 2005 world silver medalist, won gold with a toss of 68.94 meters. German Robert Harting took silver (66.68) with Rutger Smith of the Netherlands winning bronze (66.42). Kanter, who has the longest throw this year (72.02) said he could have done better, but he is happy to be champion.

"I was just trying to hit a good throw," he said. "And I did not really succeed like I was capable of, but still like two times close to 69 meters is pretty good."

Russians swept the women's long jump, with 2004 Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva winning gold with a leap of seven meters, three centimeters. European champion Lyudmila Kolchanova won silver (6.92). The three-time world silver medalist Tatyana Kotova won bronze (6.90).

In the men's 400-meters hurdles, American Kerron Clement, 21, won gold in 47.61 seconds. Former champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic won silver (48.01). Poland's Marek Plawgo won the bronze (48.12).

Clement, who finished fourth in Helsinki two years ago, said he was determined to win this year.

"You know in 2005 I left here [the world championships] without a medal," he said. "And I just came out here and just fight to the end and that's what I really wanted, the gold medal."

In the women's pole vault, Russian Yelena Isinbayeva won the gold, but missed her attempts to break the world record of five meters, one centimeter.

Isinbayeva, the world record holder, cleared four meters, 80 centimeters. Katerina Badurova of the Czech Republic won the silver (4.75 meters) while Svetlana Feofanova of Russia took the bronze.

After four days, the United States leads the medals table with three gold medals and a total of eight. Russia is second with seven medals, including three golds. Kenya is third also with three gold medals.

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