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Fans turned away, Kasarani stadium full at WU18

Kenyans love for athletics was exhibited during the IAAF world Under 18 championships that ended on Sunday evening at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.

The love for the sport was so much that majority of fans had to be locked out of the stadium since it was full and those outside the facility were more than those who had attended the event inside 60,000 capacity seater.

On the last day, each person, as he left church all roads headed for Kasarani and by the start of the championships at 4pm Kenyan time, gates had already been closed.

But the fans did not disappoint as each action, be it on track or field where no Kenya was involved, it was applauded but once a Kenya stepped on the starting lineup, cheers roared the air in support of their own.

The best highlight was when Kenyans won gold, with the host nation finishing fourth overall on medal standings which was a dismal show from the previous championships in Cali, Colombia where they placed second behind United States of America (USA).

Kenya team won 4 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals behind the leaders South Africa (5,3,3), China (5,2,4) and Cuba (5,2,1) respectively.

Jackline Wambui won the third gold medal for host nation in girls 800m and Lydia Jeruto got a silver medal.

The second race was faulted as Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu Waithaka settled for silver and bronze in the 3000m in the race won by Selemon barega.

Leonard Kipkemoi Bett and Kandie Meyan who won gold and silver in the 2000m steeplechase sending crowds into frenzy at the stadium.

Expectations were high for Kenya to earn a medal in the 4X400m mixed relay a last event on the championships calendar having qualified for the finals with a win in the heats.

However their spirited efforts earned them the fourth place after South Africa outsprinted Kenya in the home straight for bronze.

The road to medal standings began on the opening day with Elijah Onkware from Mogonga secondary school in Kisii as the first Kenyan athlete to take to the track on the opening day of the championships on Wednesday.

He placed third in boys 100m heats advancing to the semis which he bowed out after a slow reaction from the blocks. Kelvin Tauta Sawe in the afternoon failed to advance to the next stage in 400m boys.

However Emmaculate Chepkurui opened the medal purse with a silver medal in the 3000m after Ethiopia’s Abersh Minsewo took gold.

Advancing to the respective semis and finals in different disciplines on day two, it was not so impressive for Kenya in terms of sprints and field events.

Some bow out as Musyoka Mwema finished 13 in boys’ long jump with a personal best time of 6.95m and Ita Nao Leshan set 64.66 personal best time in boys Javelin.

The delight moment for Kenya materialised on the third day with teenager George Manangoi earning Kenya the first gold of the championships after winning 1500m race before Caren Chebet and Mercy Chepkirui extended the happiness for the day in the 2000m steeplechase.

Chebet won gold while Chepkurui took silver after miscalculating her steps in clearing the water barrier which she felt down.

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