Chepkirui wins Kenya's first medal in Nairobi, South Africans dominate 100m

By emmanuel sabuni
Jul 12, 2017
  • Abersh Minsewo wins the 3000m ahead of Kenya's Emmaculate Chepkiru at the World U18 Championships.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Tshenolo Lemao wins the 100m title at the World U18 Championships.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Emmaculate Chepkirui won Kenya’s first championship medal, silver in the girls’ 3,000m on Wednesday, the first day of competition at the IAAF world Under 18 event.

Ran under the floodlights following a rain delayed afternoon session, Chepkirui just lost the chase to Ethiopian Abersh Minseno in a race that had previously been dominated by Kenyans.

The race at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani was similar to the 2015 edition when Ethiopia Shuru Bulo won in an event the Kenyans had won six out of the 10 championship medals.

Taking advantage of home ground and the hoardes of Kenyan fans led by President Uhuru Kenyatta who braved the showers to catch the action, Chepkirui seemed to have it all under wraps as she peeled away at the bell.

But Minsewo was hot on her heels and with about 100m to the finish line, the Ethiopian charged forward for victory, a case of so near yet so far for the Kenyan.

Jumping over paddles of water, it was a slow race that was reduced to the usual Kenya-Ethiopia affair with the North African duo of Minsewo and Yitayish Mekonene up against Chepkirui and Beatrice Chebet.

The taller Ethiopian let Chepkirui pace the field and timed her kick in the last lap.

Minsewo admitted that it was a hard fought win against a resolute and strong Kenyan.

“At some point I knew I had lost the title but my last sprint saved me,” said the towering Minsewo.

“Despite the rains pouring, it did not affect my performance at all. The title did not belong to me and Kenyans,” Chepkirui offered clearly disappointed.

Mekonene took bronze.

South Africa dominate 100m

South Africans ruled the 100m, yet another signal that the sprint power could be shifting continentally from the West.

It was a neatly executed race for Teshenolo Lemao and Retshidisitswe Mlenga who won gold and silver, a start the South Africans needed as they look to match the success of their seniors Wayde Van Niekerk, the world 400m record holder and the fast rising Akani Simbine.

Lemao clocked 10.57 seconds ahead of his compatriot Mlenga second in 10.61.

Jamaican Tyreke Wilson tipped to win the race and extend his nation’s dominance as the multiple world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt has ruled the dash, settled for bronze in 10:65.

“I came here well prepared for such condition and I knew it was going to be tough. However, I am very excited to become the first athlete to win the first medal of the event,” Lemao said.

Germany's Selina Dantzler won the first gold for her country in girls’ shot put 3kg. She threw17:64m ahead of China’s pair of Tianxiao Yu (17:62m) and Yue Sun (17:59m).

Kenyans Peninah Akoth finished at the tail end of the 15 starters, her best throw measured at 10.91m.

Kenya's best junior clearly struggling to find her footing in the damp conditions.