Golden Ethiopia turn on the style to win two gold medals

By emmanuel sabuni
Jul 16, 2017
  • Moitalel Mpkoe Naadokila delivered a surprise silver medal in boys' 400m hurdles in the absence of david Saruni. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Edinah Jebitok leads 1500m before she sustained an injury. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Japheth Toroitich who won a bronze medal in the 800m admitted they were disappointed for not winning and apologized to Kenyans. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenyan stumbled twice to their perennial rivals Ethiopia in the penultimate race at the IAAF world championships in Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium on Saturday evening.

It was a bad day in the office for the hosts who lost the two top positions in 800m unlike in 2015, when Kenya took the first two positions.

In 2015, Willy Kiplimo Tarbei won gold in 1:45.58 ahead of Kipyegon Bett (1:45.86) and Brazilian Luis Fernando Pires bronze in 1:48.61. 

On Saturday, Ethiopia won the both gold and silver in the race.

Kenya collected two bronze medals in the evening under the watchful eye of Kenya’s Deputy president William Ruto.

Ethiopians Melese Nberet returned 1:47.12 in a world under-18 category lead to clinch the gold followed closely by Tolesa Bodena in 1:47.16, a personal best for silver.

Kenya Japheth Kibiwott Totoritich won bronze with a personal best of 1:47.82.

“It was a bad day for Kenyans as I as an athlete am not happy at all. We took to the leading front and we wanted to go for gold and silver but that did not happen. I know Kenyans are not happy with us for failing them but it has already happened and we are sorry,” said Toroitich.

It was the same script when Kenya played a second fiddle to the Ethiopians in a lively 1,500m. Ethiopians shone in the 1,500m girls’ final taking the first two positions in the late evening race. 

With each country having two athletes in the final race, it appeared to be a close call on who the bell will toll for.

The last 200m

The answer came in the last 200m when leading runner Edna Jebitok was overtaken by Ethiopian duo Lelem Hailu and Sindu Girma.

Lemlem won gold timing 4:20.80 ahead of Girma (4:22.14) as Kenyan Jebitok managed bronze timing 4:23.16.

The win was not new to Kenyans following last championships medals. The East Africa nation won the first two medals for Ethiopia and Kenya took bronze.

Bedatu Hirpa won gold in 4:12.92, followed by Dalila Abdulkadir Gosa of Bahrain and Kenyan Joyline Cherotich setted for bronze in 4:13.35.

Jebitok said she picked an injury and let the gold slip out of her. “I picked an injury on the last lap, felt too much pain that I almost gave up the race but I had to make sure I reach the finish line and I thank God I managed a medal that I never expected because of the pain.”

In the absence of team Kenya captain David Saruni, Moitalel Mpkoe Naadokila delivered the an imaginable silver medal in boys 400m hurdles. The Narok-born runner worked his way to deliver silver.

He emulated world 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett who surprised the world in 2015 at IAAF world championships in Beijing, China.

“I did not expect to win a medal in such race. It was great and a wonderful thing to achieve,” said Naadokila who finished in 52.06 as his personal best behind South African Sokwakhana who won gold in 49.27.

Saturday evening medals

800m, Boys 1. Melese Nberet (ETH) - Gold 2. Tolesa Bodena (ETH) - Silver 3. Japheth Kibiwott Toroitich (KEN) - Bronze.

1,500m, Girls 1. Lemlem Hailu (Ethiopia)-gold 2. Sindu Girma (Ethiopia)-silver 3. Edna Jebitok (Kenya) - Bronze.

400m, hurdles Boys 1. Zazini Sokwakhana (RSA) - Gold 2. Moitalel Mpoke Naadokila (KEN)-silver 3. Baptiste Christophe (FRA)-bronze.

400m hurdles girls 1. Zeney Van Der Walt (RSA)-gold 2. Sanique Walker (JAM)-silver 3. Gisele Wender (GER)-bronze

Hammer Throw (3kg) girls 1. Amanda Almendariz (CUB)- gold 2. Yaritza De La Martinez (CUB)-silver 3. Katsiaryn Valadekevich (BLR)-bronze.

Discus Throw (1.500KG) 1. Claudio Romero (CHI)-gold 2. Olesksiy Kyrylin (UKR)-silver 3. Morne Brandon (RSA)-bronze.

Selected results

200m girls’ semi final

Heat one 1. Talea Prepens (GER)-23.64 2. Jael Bestue (ESP)-23.81 3. Magdalena Stefanowicz (POL)-24.45

Heat two 1. Mizgin AY (TUR)-23.80 2. Lorraine Martins (BRA)-23.96 3. Hima Das (IND)-24.31

200m boys semi final

Heat one 1. Tshenolo Limao (RSA)-21.30 2. Luis Brandner (GER)-21.32 3. Daniel Vejrazka (CZE)—31.44

Heat two. 1. Retshidisitswe Mlenga (RSA)-21.10 2. Paul Tritenne (FRA)-21.26 3. Arielton Dos Santos (ALG)-21.47