Four medals and fourth for Kenya as World U18 closes in Nairobi

By emmanuel sabuni
Jul 16, 2017
  • Leonard Bett and Cleophas Kandie lead the boys 2000m Steeplechase final at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya Wambui Jackline Wambui wins the 800m finals at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Ethiopians lead the 3000m boys final which was won by Selemon Barega(second from right).Photo by Shutterspeed)

Great team efforts of Leonard Kipkemoi Bett and Clephas Kandie Meyan ensured Kenya wraps the IAAF world U18 championships as the most medalled nation in the 2000m steeplechase boys as they won gold and silver on Sunday.

The duo energetically kept the determined Ethiopians led by Alemu Kitesa from ruining their party on the last day of the championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Bett said their plan of running ahead of their competitors paid off that curtailed the Ethiopians planned home stretch kick.

“We realize that we were competing at a low speed so we decided to sprint our way, leaving our opponents further than expected. And we kept knowing that Ethiopians have a finishing power and our target was event if they finish with a lot of power they will find us almost at the finish line,” said Bett.

Bett crossed the finish line in 5:32.52 followed by compatriot Meyan in 5:33.07 and Kitesa completing the podium in 5:42.10 The win restored some confidence amongst thousands of fans who thronged the 60,000 capacity after losing the 800m boys gold earlier.

1-2 for in girls' 800m, heartbreak in 3000m 

With only one Ethiopian in the final, Kenyan athletes dominated the 800m girls another gold and silver smartly bagged.

From the start of the race, Ethiopian Hirut Meshesha led the park crossing the first half in 1:01.53 but at the bell, Kenyans Jackline Wambui and Lydia Lagat Jeruto took over the pacing and with 200m remaining it was down to which of the two Kenyans will bag the gold.

But Wambui who had avoided the medis since the championships began, sped to the finish finish line for Kenya’s third gold in 2:01.46 ahead of Jeruto who won silver with a personal best of 2:02.06.

“I avoided you (media) because I had unfinished business to do on track but once I was through, I am free to talk to you. It was a good thing for me to do after a long spell of gold for Kenya and I did it very well,” said Wambui.

Hirut failed to keep the pace of the Kenyan duo and won bronze in 2:06.32.

Kenyans Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu Waithaka lost the 3000m title to Ethiopian Selemon Barega.

Running in pairs, the race was reduced to the usual Kenya vs Ethiopia with two laps to the finish and Barega, who had worked with Milkesa Mengesha won gold timing 7:47.16 ahead of Zakayo (7:49.17) and Waithaka’s 7:50.64 all clocking their personal best.

Despite falling on the third lap and bruising his right knee, Waitahaka quickly gained ground for bronze.

“When I fell, it really affected on how we had planned to race down our opponents but that didn’t work well,” said Waihtaka. But Zakayo, the silver medalist said all was well until he lost contact with Waithaka.

“As we were communicating during the race, I realized he was not near me. Despite that that, I worked well to win silver. I must admit that the Ethiopian was too strong for me and had good finishing power,” said Zakayo, a form one student from Kasait secondary school.      

Germany's Talea Prepens won the third gold for her country in the girls'  200m, the first race on track.

She outsprinted Spain’s Jael Bestue as Turkish Mizgin AY settled for bronze in 23.76. In boys’ category, South African Retshiditswe Mlenga won the 5th gold medal that ensured they finished as the best nation at the worlds.

Teammate Tshenolo Lemao won silver ahead of Luis Brandner of Germany. Mlenga ran the season best of 21:03 as Lemao’s ran a PB of 21.12. Brandner clocked 21.23.  

Sunday's Medals winners Medals winners

3000m

Boys 1. Selemon Barega (ETH)-gold 2. Edward Zakayo (KEN)-silver 3. Stanley Mburu Waithaka (KEN)-bronze.

2000m steeplechase

Boys 1. Leonard Kipkemoi Bett (KEN)-gold 2. Cleophas Kandie Meyan (KEN)-silver 3. Alemu Kitesa (ETH)-bronze.

800m

Girls 1. Jackline Wambui (KEN)-gold 2. Lydia Jeruto Lagat (KEN)-silver 3. Hirut Meshesha (ETH)-bronze.

200m

Boys 1. Retshidisitswe Mlenga (RSA)-gold 2. Tshenolo Lemao (RSA)-silver 3. Luis Brandner (GER)-bronze

Girls 1. Talea Prepens (GER)-gold 2. Jael Bestue (ESP)-silver 3. Mizgin AY (TUR)-bronze.

Pole Vault

1. Mathias Orban (FRA)-gold 2. Christos Tamanis (CYP)-silver 3. Illya Kravchenko (UKR)-bronze

Javelin throw (500G)

Girls 1. Marisleisys Duarthe (CUB)-gold 2. Qing Cai (CHN)-silver 3. Qianqian Dai (CHN)-bronze.