Ndingiti earns respect in rare race: Race Walk Kenyan survives on endurance to pull through with bronze
Zhang of China showed his might to bag gold medal.
Kenya has been on a mission to diversify her medal hunt at major international championships including at the Olympics and the Worlds.
There seem to be light at the end of the tunnel in the mission as was witnessed at Kasarani Stadium when Samson Dominic Ndingiti won a rare medal for Kenya was he walked to bronze, in the boy’s 10,000m Race Walk.
Ndingiti, who led in the first 15 rounds in the category contested by athletes from 32 countries, clocked 41:25.78 to bring glory to the country in the rare discipline for locals.
His dominance in the cutthroat final was broken by Yao Zhang of China in the 15th round after the Kenyan ran out of steam, but still summoned some endurance to hold on for third place.
Zhang zoomed off to kill the contest with an impressive 41:12.01 finish to win gold. Silver went to Russian Salavat Ilkaev who clocked 41:24.17.
“I could have won gold if I had another Kenyan in this event, pacing and keeping up with the two guys was not a joke,” Ndingiti said.
However, Ndingiti said he was glad to write history as the first Kenyan to win a medal in the category at the championships that is in its last edition.
“This win is historic for Kenya in that it is an indication that the country is on the right track towards realising her dream to dominate in other races which we are not known to do well in," he said.
He said with determination he thinks the country will be able to also win medals at major global events in this category.
The Form Two student at Kiandege Secondary School in Nyamira said he has sacrificed a lot to embrace the discipline.
“I failed to travel to the last edition of these championships that were held in Cali, Colombia because I had a problem with my travel documents, but I did not give up because I knew one day I will be a world champion,” he said.
Ndingiti, who is also the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association champion (44:14.09), believes his performance yesterday could have been even better if he had at least six months training ahead of the event.
“Training with the rest for three weeks was not enough, at least six months could have given me an edge over my opponents,” he said.
Despite Ndingiti’s glorious celebrations, things did not go down well for Kenya’s representative in the 5000m Race Walk final with Lenah Nanjala, who was a medal prospect fading out in the final laps.
Nanjala’s comfortable lead at the 2000m mark was blown away after she was given a warning and she failed to recover finishing at a distant 14th place (25:23.97) in the final contested by 26 nations.
“Despite the distraction, I am glad I still regained my composure to register a personal best in the championships, all in all I was able to learn a lot that I believe will take me far in this career,” Nanjala said.
Kenya failed to qualify for the final in the girl’s Javelin Throw preliminaries after the country’s sole representative, Cynthia Chebet, recorded 40.78m to finish in ninth place in pool B that had ten contestants.
It was also a dark moment for Kenya in the boy’s high jump final where Evans Kipchirchir failed to proceed beyond the initial 1.97m mark.