Taher holds off Kamal to defend Games title

GUANGZHOU, China - Bahrain's Kenyan-born Tareq Mubarak Taher defended his 3000m steeplechase title at the Asian Games yesterday.

Taher, previously known as Dennis Kipkurui Keter, clocked 8min:25,89sec, with Qatar's Kenyan-born Thamer Kamal (Thomas Kosgei) taking silver (8:26,27) while Ali al-Amri of Saudi Arabia claimed bronze (8:30,96).

Taher, 25, and Kamal were among the initial pacesetters, looking comfortable during the early stages of the race and as the field became more stretched they were joined by al-Amri in a front three.

Coming up to the bell Taher edged in front and began to open up a substantial lead on Kamal, but a tentative last barrier cost him 5m.

The 22-year-old from Qatar spotted his chance and had the momentum but the Bahraini defending champion had the strength to see off the challenge and cross the line in first place.

Taher's time was some way off his personal best of 8:06,13.

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