Kenya finish 2nd at World Youth Championships
By JONATHAN KOMEN
:Triumphant Kenya’s team to the eighth IAAF World Youth Championships jet back home tomorrow morning from Donetsk, Ukraine to a red carpet reception at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Kenya finished second at the competition and though they failed to reclaim the overall title from USA, in which perennial top contenders Jamaica won on Sunday, their performance was excellent.
This means they will be back home with their heads held high after unveiling great talent who are expected to blossom at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Kenya’s achievement was outstanding out of the 165 countries that took part. They were able to marshal young talented runners to come up against some of the world’s biggest economies – USA, China and Russia – who had a higher number of athletes.
Kenya finished second with 11 medals (four gold, three silver and four bronze) slightly below the 14 medals target theyy wanted to surpass (five gold, four silver and four bronze medals) which they won in Lille, France back in 2011.
Winners Jamaica wrested the title from USA with eight medals (six gold and two bronze medals) to relegate six-time champions USA to fifth with 17 medals (two gold, seven silver and eight bronze).
Ethiopia was in third place with eight medals (3-2-3) as Australia trailed in fourth place with four medals (3-0-1).
Kenya won gold medals through Alfred Kipketer (800m), Robert Kiptoo Biwott (1,500m), Roseline Chepng’etich (3,000m) and Lilian Kasait in 3,000m final.
Nicholas Kiptanui Bett (2,000m steeplechase) losing the title Conseslus Kipruto won in 2011 to Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia. Other silver medalists were Vedic Kipkoech (3,000m), Daisy Chepkemei (3,000m) and Nicholas Kiptanui Bett.
Justus Kipkorir Lagat (2,000m steeplechase), Alexander Mutiso (3,000m), Titus Kipruto Kibiego (1,500m) and Alexander Sampao won bronze medals.
Kenya needs to work on the women’s 800m and 1,500m races and men’s 1,500m races to reclaim the overall crown, which they last won at the 2009 edition in Bressanone, Italy.
Kenya lost the 1,500m girl’s title, which Faith Chepng’etich won in Lille, France in 2011 in a championship record.
The youth stars will certainly arrive to a red carpet reception even as preparations, usually marked by the traditional Mursik fanfare, are in high gear in North and South Rift areas.
Alfred Keter, who comes from Moiben in Uasin Gishu County, will be garlanded with the Kalenjin ornamental plant Sinendet, used to bless community’s heroes, in Eldoret.
But girls’ 3,000m winner Lilian Kasait, a Standard Seven pupil at Footstep AC Primary School in Pokot South, will be adorned with the community’s heroine belt leketio – used to throne outstanding women in the community.
Athletics Kenya (AK) Vice President David Okeyo congratulated the team saying it will inspire their senior colleagues heading to the World Championships in Moscow, Russia, next month.
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World Youth Championships Jomo Kenyatta International Airport