Taki dives to gold in Poland

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jul 22, 2016
  • Kumari Taki wins the 1500m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (Photo by Getty Images)

Kumari Taki succeeded in his ambition to win a second world title in the 1500m, but last year's world U18 champion had to both literally and figuratively leave everything on the track in order to make it happen.

In a thrilling and scrappy homestretch battle, the 17-year-old Kenyan dove across the finish line to hold off Ethiopian Taresa Tolosa's fierce late race surge to secure the title, 3:48.63 to 3:48.77.

"I knew that the Ethiopian had a stronger kick than me so I had to dive at the line, and I made it," said Taki, whose 3:36.38 from last year's final in Cali remains his personal best. "I wanted this for a long time."

A slow pair of opening laps --1:06.70 at 400m and 2:12.99 at 800m-- played into the hands of kickers like Tolosa and Taki's teammate Anthony Kiptoo.

Sensing that, Taki took to the front at the bell and upped the tempo hoping to run the kick out of his pursuers. Frenchman Baptiste Mischler took chase, with Kiptoo, Tolosa and teammate Asres Guadie jockeying for position through the backstretch.

Taki had a two-step lead midway through the final bend, when Kiptoo moved into second. Tolosa made his move as he entered the final stretch, first powering by Kiptoo and readying to storm by Taki as well.

But Taki held his positions before making his desperate lunge to secure Kenya’s 10th title in the event In the blanket finish, Kiptoo held on for bronze in 3:49.00 with Mischler and Indian Ajay Kumar Saroj just a step behind in 3:49.52, with the Frenchman given the nod for fourth.

Kipyegon and Kirui set the stage for another Kenyan steeplechase sweep 

As expected, Kenya’s quest for a 15th straight title in the men’s 3000m steeplechase went according to script as the third day of competition at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 got underway on Thursday.

Vincent Kipyegon and Amos Kirui, the athletes cast for a fourth successive Kenyan 1-2 finish at these championships – and an 11th overall – comfortably advanced to Sunday afternoon's final finishing first and second, respectively, in their respective heats.

Kipyegon, the world U18 champion, cruised to an 8:37.20 win in the second heat, nearly two seconds clear of Ethiopian Kidanemariam Dessie (8:39.05).

In heat one, Kirui reached the line in 8:44.32, just a step behind Ethiopian Getnet Wale, whose 8:43.92 was a season's best.

Yemane Haileselassie of Eritrea, the year's second fastest coming in to Bydgoszcz at 8:22.52, and Mohamed Ismail Ibrahim of Djibouti, who arrived in Poland with sub-8:24 credentials, also cruised into the final.