Kenya and Ethiopia trade places in 2000m steeplechase

By emmanuel sabuni
Jul 14, 2017
  • Cleophas Kandie Mayan said they have set their focus on earning Kenya glory at home. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya coach Kariuki Gikonyo has a word for some of his charges during the championship where Kenya faltered in the sprints and faced stiff competition from Ethiopia. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenyan Cleophas Kandie Mayan stepped on the 2000m steeplechase starting line-up as the best athlete following his 5:36.3 in the first round of IAAF world under 18 championships.

But that time did not favour him a lot when Ethiopian Alemu Kitessa who had returned 5:38.72 overtook him to win the first heat in the second track event at Kasarani.

The race was reduced to a Kenya and Ethiopia affair when Kitessa crossed the finish line first in 5:49.79 with more than eleven second behind his qualifying time in heat one followed by Mayan in second place also failing to match his qualifying time to cross the finish line in 5:51.83.

It was a different scenario in the second heat where Leonard Kipkemoi Bett beat Ethiopian Girma Diriba. Bett was the best in the whole race, when he stepped at the start line with 5:28.52 he set during national trials.

Although he performed according to what was expected by winning in his heat, his time of 5:46.66 was not impressive even after training for a month. Ethiopian Diriba managed 5:47.86.

The double qualification for Kenyans and Ugandans, the Saturday final will be reduced to the two rival nations. Meyan who comes from Nakuru County said they have set their focus on earning Kenya glory at home and they will strategise for a winning formula.

“I am very happy that I have qualified for the finals though it was very tough. We are going to plan for our next action to see that Kenya wins gold medals,” Meyan stated.

Bett, a form three student at AIC Liloch Secondary School student beamed with confidence having won his heat.

“I know Ethiopians are very competitive and we are carefully watching them. The important thing is that I have made to the finals,” said Bett.

Kenyan athletes continued to register poor results in the sprints.

As Kenyan fans cheered on their countrymen take on track, the cheers slowly diminished when athletes reached near the finish line where they faded into oblivion lacking the killer punch.

In the 200m, the best of the best from Kenya Mary Moraa failed to qualify for the second round.

The Mogonga Girls student finished sixth in heat one clocking 25:48 in a race won by Gayane Chiloyan (24:64) followed by Leticia Maria Lima of Brazil. Moraa was the only Kenyan in the race.

It was almost the same story in the boy's category where Philemon Mopia was the only qualifier after finishing third in the third heat. He returned 21:79 behind Louis Brandner (21:23) of Germany and Vasyl Mukukh (21:26) of Ukraine.

Selected morning results

2000m steeplechase boys

Heat one 1. Alemu Kitessa (Ethiopia) - 5:49.79 2. Cleophas Kandie Meyan (Kenya) - 5:51.83 3. Murat Yalcinkaya (Turkey) - 5:54.33 4. Joel Kiplagngat (Uganda)-5:56.54.

Heat two 1. Leonard Kipkemoi Bett (Kenya) - 5:46.66 2. Girma Diriba (Ethiopia) - 5:47.86 3. Anil Kalayci (Turkey)-5:52.54 4. Saba Khvichava (Mauritania) - 5:56.21.

200m boys

Heat one 1. Gayane Chiloyan (ARM) - 24:64 2. Leticia Maria Lima (BRA) - 24:74 3. Gal Kadmon (ISR) -24:83.

Heat 2 1. Lorraine Martins (BRA) 2. Magdalena Stefanowicz (POL) 3. Yanan Tao (CHN).

Heat 3 1. Talea Prepens (GER)-23:93 2. Mizgin AY (TUR)-24:22 3. Oarabile Tshosa-24:82.

Heat 4 1. Jael Bestue (ESP) - 24:05 2. Hima Das (IND) - 24:52 3. Tami Scancar (SLO) - 24:79.