| Sylvianne Felix (right) and Chirstine Arron lead France to gold in the women’s 4x100 relay at the world athletics in Paris on Saturday. (AFP)
Paris: Kenyan teenager Eliud Kipchoge stole the show from record hunters Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the men’s 5,000 metres final at the World Championships on Sunday.
The world junior cross-country champion narrowly outsprinted Moroccan El Guerrouj for a surprise victory in a championship record time of 12 minutes 52.79 seconds.
El Guerrouj, who was chasing an unprecedented double after winning the 1,500 metres title here, mounted a brave challenge but had to settle for silver in 12:52.83. Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, also after a unique double after claiming 10,000 gold, led for most of a thrilling race before taking the bronze in 12:53.12.
Had El Guerrouj been successful he would have been the first athlete since the legendary Pavel Nurmi at the 1924 Olympics to achieve the 1,500m-5,000m double. “I am very happy with what I have got and the performance and I feel like a prince,” said El Guerrouj.
Catherine Ndereba restored Kenyan pride on the final day by comfortably winning the women’s marathon gold. The 31-year-old, former holder of the world best, confirmed her status as pre-race favourite by winning in two hours, 23 minutes and 55 seconds.
Japan filled the silver and bronze medal positions. Mizuki Noguchi chased Ndereba home in 2:24:14 with Masako Chiba third in 2:25:09.
“This is obviously the greatest day of my life,” Ndereba told reporters. “The race went well for me. I have to thank God. He is almighty. He can do everything. He is my friend. He gave me my faith and I thank him a thousand times.”
Meanwhile, Algeria’s Djabir Said-Guerni outsprinted Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy for a narrow victory in the men’s 800 metres final. The 26-year-old clocked a winning time of one minute 44.81 seconds.
Borzakovskiy had to be content with the silver medal in 1:44.84 and fell on to the track just after crossing the line. South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi won the bronze in 1:44.90 to complete the podium.
The depleted US 4x100 metres men’s relay team rose to the challenge on Sunday by retaining the world title.
Anchored by J.J. Johnson, a team without Olympic champion Maurice Greene, world record holder Tim Montgomery and former American champion Jon Drummond, beat Britain to the line.
The US team were under particular pressure after the women’s quartet, without Kelli White who was withdrawn after failing a test for a stimulant, finished second on Saturday to France.
The Americans have always won one of the sprint relays at the Olympic Games or world championships.
John Capel, Bernard Williams, Darvis Patton and Johnson clocked 38.06 seconds ahead of Britain (38.08) and Brazil (38.26).
Christine Arron anchored host country France to their first ever World Championships relay title in the 4x100 metres on Saturday.
The United States, competing without double world champion White, were overhauled in the final few metres as the French won in a world leading time of 41.78 seconds. The US, who won gold in Edmonton two years ago, finished second in 41.83 and Russia were third in 42.66. (Agencies)