Manangoi and Chebet begin Kenya's gold rush at World U18

By emmanuel sabuni
Jul 14, 2017
  • George Meitamei Manangoi wins the 1,500m at the IAAF world U18championships.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya Mercy Chepkirui outsprints Mercy Chepkirui for the 2000m gold at the IAAF world U18 championships.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya's Mary Moraa(extreme left) powers away for silver t the IAAF world U18 championships.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

It was going to a lonely run for Kenya’s George Meitamei Manangoi, the only entrant in the 1,500m. But he capped off a brilliant solo home-stretch run to win the most important medal on offer, Kenya’s first gold at the IAAF world under 18 championships at Kasarani stadium.

A day when Mary Moraa picked a surprise medal in the girls’ 400m. Manangoi, the young brother to world 1,500m silver medallist Elijah Manangoi majestically followed through his elder brothers’ footstep outclassing the Ethiopian duo in the race in 3:47.53.

Manangoi who was to pair with Dominic Kipkemboi the top qualifier from the semis at 3:44.0 who was forced to pull out injured. But Manangoi’ perfectly defended the gold Kumari Taki won in Cali two years ago.

“I'm very happy to have won Kenya the first very precious medal, gold,” said Manangoi. With just 200m to the finish, Manangoi who had trailed the North Africans rivals who led the pack for most of the race, outsprinted Ethiopian Abede Dessasaa and compatriot Belete Mekonen at the last bend with an astonishing kick.

Dessasaa who took silver in 3:48.65 and Mekonen hanging in for bronze in 3:50.64.

1-2 for Chebet and Chepkurui

A few minutes later, Caren Chebet ensured Kenya goes top of the medal standings on day three of championships with a dramatic late gold in the 2000m steeplechase with an unlucky Mercy Chepkurui picking silver.

Chebet capitalized on the fall of Chepkurui after the last steeple jump, passing her compatriot who impressively quickly picked herself up and closed in the gap for silver.

The Saramek High school student crossed the finish line in 6:24.80 with Chebet clocking 6:19.61 ahead of Ethiopian Etalemahu Sintayehu third in 6:35.79.

“This marks the beginning of my career and I want make it clear that I will do my best in future championships,”said Chebet.

Moraa's rare silver

Moraa who had impressed in the heats and semis timed 53.31 behind the world junior champion Czech Republic’s Barbora Malikova who raced to the gold in 52.74. The crowd really motivated me to give my best in the last metres,” said Moraa.

“I’m so grateful to my coach for trusting and guiding me.”

Lydia Lagat Jeruto and Jackline Wambui continued with their superlative performance winning their respective heats to qualify for Sunday’s 800m final. Jeruto clocked 2:10.47 to win heat one outsprinting Polish international Milena Korbut (2:11.31).

“I had to make fans happy who kept on cheering me and I had to work hard to achieve what they needed and I did it very well.

At the same time, I have to promise them gold in the race that has been dominated by Kenyans,” said Jeruto, the class seven pupil at Poror primary school. Wambui on the other side won heat two in 2:14.18.

Kenya finished the day with two gold and three silver medals and now lies second behind Cuba with three gold medals. Cuba had a brilliant day, setting the first world U18 best of the championships record.

Jordan Diaz of Cuba reached an incredible 17.30m in the fourth round of the boys' triple jump final, having set the event record of 17.00m on his previous jump.

Day three Medals Hammer Throw (5kg) boys 1. Mykhalo Kokhan (UKR)-gold 2. Damneet Sigh (IND)-silver 3. Raphael Winkelvoss (GER)-bronze

Triple jump 1. Jordan Diaz (CUB)-gold 2. Frixon David Chila (ECU)-silver 3. Arnovis Dalmero (COL)-bronze

High jump girls 1. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR)-gold 2. Martyna Lewandoska (POL)-silver 3. Lavinja Jurgens (GER)-Bronze

1,500m boys 1. George Manangoi (KEN)-gold 2. Abebe Dessassa (ETH)-silver 3. Belete Mekonen (ETH)-bronze

2000m steeplechase girls 1. Caren Chebet (KEN)-gold 2. Mercy Chepkurui (KEN)-silver 3. Etamelahu Sintayehu-bronze

400m girls 1. Barbora Malikova (CZE)-gold 2. Mary Moraa (KEN)-silver 3. Giovana Rosalia Dos Santos (BRA)-bronze

400m boys 1. Antonio Watson (JAM)-gold 2. Daniel Williams (GUY)-silver 3. Colby Jennings (TKS)-bronze