By James Bakama in Glasgow
1. M. Shelley (Australia) Gold
2. S. Chelany (Kenya) Silver
3. A. Kiplimo (Uganda) Bronze
4. S. Mutai (Uganda)
9. P. Kiplimo (Uganda)
Abraham Kiplimo stumbled at the half-way point but recovered to win Uganda's first ever Commonwealth Games marathon medal on Sunday.
What Uganda had predicted as a sure gold was lost as Kiplimo lost balance at the half-way point. He however rose to get bronze, Uganda's first medal at the Glasgow event.
"It was a great race. Anyone else could have given up, but I am a man. I told myself that I have to fight on. I missed the moon, but at least I didn't miss the stars," noted a smiling Kiplimo after racing to the finish in chilly Glasgow conditions.
Kiplimo celebrates after the race
As Kiplimo struggled to regain focus, Australia's Michael Shelley, a silver medalist at the last games, and Kenya's Stephen Chelany, gained ground to take gold and silver respectively.
Towering Shelley strode away in the last five kilometers to finish in two hours 11:15 seconds. Chemulany followed in 2:11:58 as Kiplimo clocked 2:12:23.
Kiplimo’s superb form was evident as early as the tenth kilometer as he surged forward, leading team-mates Mutai and namesake Kiplimo and Tanzania;s Fabiano Naasi to the front pack. Kenya’s John Eriku was close on the group’s heels before falling back for Chelany to catch up.
Chelany did take charge in the third quarter of the race before giving way for Shelley to run to Australia’s first Commonwealth gold since Steve Monegheti triumphed in Victoria in 1994.
That Sunday’s race was much slower than Kiplimo’s 2:09:23 personal best, said volumes about what could have happened if the eventual bronze medalist hadn’t been disrupted.
Kiplimo on his way to a bronze medal
After a slow start to the games, that saw Uganda's badminton, table tennis, rugby and swimming get a beating, Kiplimo together with team-mates Solomon Mutai, who was fourth, and ninth placed Phillip Kiplimo, gave their country something to smile about.
It was yet another impressive show by Uganda's runners following Moses Kipsiro's sparkling performance at the last games in New Delhi.
Kipsiro, who is back to defend his titles, became the first person in over 70 years to gold in the 5000 and 10000 meters.
But while Team Uganda celebrated yesterday, athletics manager Apollo Musherurwe wasn't very pleased.
"It was supposed to be gold. We went through the route the previous day and everyone was very optimistic. That fall denied us gold."
After the marathon, the focus shifted to track where Kipsiro was due to run in the 5000m final last night.