Stephen Kibiwott gained the second Turin Marathon’s win of his career clocking 2:10:12 in a close battle in the final kilometres of today’s edition of the IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
The top five runners dipped under 2:11 in a race run in ideal weather conditions. Oleksandr Sitkovsky from the Ukraine took the runner’s-up spot in 2:10:17 qualifying for the Olympic Games in Beijing, together with his compatriot Vasyl Matvichuk, who finished fifth in 2:10:36.
Another athlete who got her berth for this summer’s Olympic Games is Italian Vincenza Sicari who took the honours in the women’s race in 2:29:50 for her first-ever sub- 2:30.
The race was very tactical from the beginning. The first half of the race was slower than planned. Pacemakers Hillary Bett from Kenya and Wilson Busienei from Uganda passed the first half in 1:05:30 leading a head group which included Kenyans Joseph Lomala, John Komen, Joseph Ngeny, Kibiwott, Sitkovsky and the Russian Andreev Grigoriy.
Busienei was the first pacemaker to finish his task at 21km, and after passing 30km in 1:30:20 Vasyl Matvichuk, who is based for most of the year in Northern Italy, closed the gap on the nine-man leading group.
The front runners (six Kenyans, two Ukrainians and one Russian) controlled the pace with nobody taking the initiative and the race was tactical until 35km.
Kibiwott and Lomala began to push hard and tried a breakaway attempt at 37km but of the rest of the group Sitkovsky did not give up, and in the final two kilometres Kibiwott and Sitkovsky engaged a neck to neck battle with Lomala slightly adrift of the top pair.
With one kilometre to go Kibiwott finally pulled away and thanks to an impressive final kilometre in 2:50 he managed to take the win by five seconds crossing the finish-line in 2:10:12 in the Piazza Castello.
Lomala smashed his previous PB by four minutes finishing in third place in 2:10:21 holding off debutant John Komen by four seconds.
After his win in Turin in 2006, Kibiwott had had a difficult 2007 but managed to bounce back earlier this year with a win in the Paris Half Marathon in his build-up to his second Turin marathon victory. Kibiwott is trained by Gabriele Nicola, a young coach from Turin who guides a group of Kenyan athletes in Kenya.
“The pace was a bit slow in the first half,” said Kibiwott. “I tried to push the pace in the second part but pacemakers did not help us to run a steady pace. I decided to break away at 37 km. I am looking for a fast race in autumn to improve my PB. This race was more painful than in 2006.”
The women’s race was focused on Vincenza Sicari’s attempt to run under the 2:30 qualifying time set by the Italian Athletics Federation FIDAL for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Sicari, whose previous attempt to qualify for the Olympics failed one month ago when she dropped out of the Rome Marathon, ran the first 16km with Kenyan Catherine Kurui and Oksana Slyarenko from Ukraine. At this point the Italian runner broke away from the rest of the field. At halfway she built up a 8-second gap over Kurui and Slyarenko.
Sicari kept a sub-2:30 pace for most of the race. She increased her lead over Kurui to over four minutes at 35km keeping alive her hope to dip under 2:30 alive. In the final 500 metres Sicari suffered from a stitch but managed to accomplish her task by crossing the finish-line in 2:29:50.
“I ran the most difficult 80 metres in my marathon career. I suffered from stomach problems. I followed the advice of my coach. I want to thank him for that”, said Sicari.
Bordin recalls victory of 20 years ago
Former Olympic champion Gelindo Bordin celebrated the twentieth anniversary of his Olympic win in Seoul 1988 returning to the marathon 16 years after his final big race at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. Bordin finished his race in 3:05. “I want to congratulate with the city of Turin for its sport culture and the organizers for the great work,” said Bordin.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Stephen Kibiwott (Kenya) 2:10:12
2 Oleksander Sitkowsky (Ukraine)2:10:17
3 Joseph Lomala (Kenya) 2:10:21
4 John Komen (Kenya) 2:10:25
5 Vasyl Matvichuk (Ukraine) 2:10:36
6 Andreev Grigoriy (Russia) 2:11:00
7 Joseph Ngeny (Kenya) 2:11:39
8 Philemon Tarbei (Kenya) 2:11:50
9 Daniel Limo (Kenya) 2:12:33
10 Teshome Gelana (Ethiopia) 2:13:31
11 Cosme Anselmo De Souza (Brazil) 2:13:49
1 Vincenza Sicari (Italy) 2:29:50
2 Catherine Kurui (Kenya) 2:35:11
3 Oksana Slyarenko (Ukraine) 2:36:13
4 Elisa Desco (Italy) 2:36:53
5 Petra Teveli (Hungary) 2:37:27
6 Letay Negash (Ethiopia) 2:42:19