By Norman Katende
GLASGOW -Moses Kipsiro ran a patient race, hung on with the leaders and then sprinted to even surprise himself as he defended his 10000m title at the Commonwealth Games.
He won Uganda’s first gold medal at the games. He beat Kenya’s Josphat Bett, a gold medallist at the 2008 World Junior championships in Poland, and Canada’s Cameroon Levins on the finish line to win by split seconds.
(PHOTOGRAPHY by Norman Katende)
Moses Kipsiro (middle) pulled another first on Kenya by defending the 10000m at the Commonwealth Games
The runner, who has been battling with an injury and finished 8th in his bid to defend the 5000m medal last Sunday had to revisit his tactics, this time Timothy Toroitich and Moses Kibet doing the donkeywork as he lay behind and praying for the right opportunity for him to pounce and try his luck.
Moses Kipsiro (3rd-left) during the race
Coming up the scales from the 20th in the first lap to the mid 10s after the 5000m mark, Kipsiro hung on with Toroitich in a fairly slow pace as Kenyan Peter Kirui dictated the pace.
Team Uganda being congratulated by fans after Kipsiro's narrow win of 0.03 secs
Even at the bell, it all looked like Kipsiro was struggling but when he saw that he still had an opportunity as towards the home stretch, he kicked to overtake Kenya’s Charles Ceruiyot and Peter Kirui and this is when he realised that he still had power despite being some good meters behind the now sprinting duo of Bett and Levins; he even pushed harder, only overtaking them by a stretch of his leg.
Kipsiro (right) celebrates his win with teammates
He did not know that he had won until the announcer, after some video replay mentioned his name as the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, leaving him stunned.true
Fans including Uganda Olympic president William Blick (left) take a selfie with Kipsiro
And the wild celebrations could be seen after running to hug team manager Apollo Musherure and his fellow athletes before starting the celebration amidst disbelief.true
Winnie Nanyondo celebrates her bronze medal in the 800m
“I can’t believe it. I did not have hope of winning. I just hung on and when the hope came, I sprinted to victory,” said Kipsiro after the race.
“The race was slow and I knew my body. When we reached 200m, I waited for them to sprint but they did not, I kept calm. At 150m they still did not sprint and I knew I had a chance. So when they started sprinting at 100m, I also kicked with all the energy I had and then threw my chest in front just to try and see that I can have some hope of winning,” said Kipsiro
Nanyondo (right) on the podium, had to settle for bronze on a triumphant night for Team Uganda
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In pictures: Kipsiro takes Gold; Nanyondo Bronze