23 SEP 2007 General News

Women's 800m

As she’s continued to show since the early rounds of the World Championships in Osaka, Janeth Jepkosgei is currently without peer in the 800 metres.

With another commanding front-running performance, the 24-year-old Kenyan dominated one of the finest fields assembled this season with a 1:57.87 win. The margin of victory –Osaka bronze medallist Mayte Martinez of Spain was second in 1:58.14—was somewhat deceiving, so in control of the proceedings was the recently-minted World champion.

“I like to run from the front because I can control my self and the other girls,” said Jepkosgei, who has produced the season’s three quickest performances, topped by her 1:56.04 national record in Osaka, the fastest in the world since 2003. “It’s much easier for me to do it this way.”

Her performance here easily eclipsed the 1:59.02 meet record set by Zulia Calatayud last year, the woman Jepkosgei succeeded as World champion.

Taking to the front less than 100 metres into the race, Jepkosgei controlled the tempo, reaching the half in 57.90. Behind her the field jockeyed for position, with Briton Marilyn Okoro and Slovenia’s Osaka finalist Brigita Langerholc closely behind. But as the Kenyan upped the pace, Langerholc dropped back, while Martinez moved up.

With victory hers, Jepkosgei crossed the line triumphantly for the sixth consecutive race, comfortably ahead of the quick-closing Martinez, who in turn held off Okoro’s late race surge. The Briton’s feistiness paid off; her 1:58.76 for third was a career best, and a memorable gift for her 23rd birthday, which she is celebrating today.

Bob Ramsak