IAAF world under 18 championships hosts Kenya wound the championships with four gold medals, seven silver and two bronze to finish fourth in the world.
Leonard Kipkemoi Bett and Jackline Wambui won gold for Kenya in 2,000m steeplechase and 800m respectively on the last day of the games staged at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
Bett combined with Clephas Kandie Meyan to deliver gold and silver while Wambui worked hard together with Lydia Jeruto Lagat for similar results.
Bett said their plan of running in front of their competitors paid off and after learning their opponents have finishing power they had to run away from them.
“We realize that we were competing at a low speed so we decided to sprint our way, leaving our opponents further than expected. And we kept knowing that Ethiopians have finishing power and our target was event if they finish with a lot of power they will find us almost at the finish line with a win,” said Bett.
Bett was wrapped in a sinendet, a sign of heroism. Bett crossed the finish line in 5:32.52 followed by Meyan in 5:33.07 and Kitesa completing the podium in 5:42.10
Wambui and Jeruto dominated the two lap race in a Kenyan affair as packed stadium cheered on who will become the champion since all were Kenyans.
Wambui outpaced Jeruto for the third gold for the host nation, running a world u18 lead in 2:01.46 ahead of Jeruto who won silver with her personal best of 2:02.06.
“I avoided you (media) because I had unfinished business to do on track but once I was through, I am free to talk to you. It was a good thing for me to do after a long spell of gold for kenya and I did it very well,” said Wambui.
Hirut failed to keep the pace of the Kenyan duo and won bronze in 2:06.32.
Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu Waithaka lost the 300m title to Ethiopian Selemon Barega.
Running in pairing opponents shoulder to shoulder, the race was reduced to kenya against Ethiopia with two laps to the finish and Barega, who had worked with Milkesa Mengesha won gold timing 7:47.16 ahead of Zakayo (7:49.17) and Waithaka’s 7:50.64 all clocking their personal bets.
Despite falling on the third lap and bruising his right knee, Waitahaka recovered on time to chase the leading that to manage bronze, which he said affected their work plan.
“When I fell, it really affected on how we had planned to race down our opponents but that didn’t work well,” said Waihtaka.
But Zakayo, the silver medalist said all was well until he lost contact with Waithaka.
“As we were communicating during the race, I realized he was not near me and rthere was communication barrier. Though with that, I worked well to win silver. I must admit that the Ethiopian was too strong for me and he has good finishing power that is why I won,” said Zakayo, form one student from Kasait secondary school who plans to meet Barega in next year’s Africa cross country championships.
Germany international Talea Prepens won the 5th gold for her country in 200m, the first race on track. Outsprinting Spains Jael Bestue, Prepens times 23.51 for her personal; best ahead of Bestue in 23.61 before Turkish Mizgin AY settled for bronze in 23.76.
In boys’ category, South African Retshiditswe Mlenga won the 5th gold medal for his country, leading country mate Tshenolo Lemao to silver and Luis Brandner of Germany completing the podium places.
Mlenga ran the season best of 21:03 followed by Lemao’s personal best of 21.12 and Brandner’s personal best of 21.23.
- Selemon Barega (ETH)-gold
- Edward Zakayo (KEN)-silver
- Stanley Mburu Waithaka (KEN)-bronze
200m steeplechase boys
- Leonard Kipkemoi Bett (KEN)-gold
- Cleophas Kandie Meyan (KEN)-silver
- Alemu Kitesa (ETH)-bronze
- Jackline Wambui (KEN)-gold
- Lydia Jeruto Lagat (KEN)-silver
- Hirut Meshesha (ETH)-bronze
- Retshidisitswe Mlenga (RSA)-gold
- Tshenolo Lemao (RSA)-silver
- Luis Brandner (GER)-bronze
- Talea Prepens (GER)-gold
- Jael Bestue (ESP)-silver
- Mizgin AY (TUR)-bronze
- Mathias Orban (FRA)-gold
- Christos Tamanis (CYP)-silver
- Illya Kravchenko (UKR)-bronze
Javelin throw (500G) girls
- Marisleisys Duarthe (CUB)-gold
- Qing Cai (CHN)-silver
- Qianqian Dai (CHN)-bronz