Kenya stamped its authority in boys’ 2,000m steeplechase finals, an event it has dominated in most major championships, consolidating its place as the world’s hard-to-beat middle and long-distance running powerhouse.
The duo of Leonard Kipkemboi Bett and Cleopas Kandie Meyan got the last laugh over their Ethiopian counterparts as the IAAF World Under-18 Championships wound up yesterday.
A 1-2 finish was predictable, with Meyan leading Bett at the bell as Ethiopian Alemu Kitessa, who had early attempted to stick with Kenyans, faded 30 metres away.
Bett produced a kick at the 2,000m water barrier to overtake his team-mate Meyan to win gold, clocking 5:32.52, keeping up the hosts’ history in the event. Meyan comfortably settled for silver (5:33.07) as the crowd went into frenzy.
“It went as planned, I’m so happy our strategy worked. We were not worried about the Ethiopians at all,” said Bett.
Meyan said their victory was special, especially since it was witnessed by home fans.
Ethiopia’s Alemu Kitessa took third in 5:42.10. His fellow countryman Girma Diriba finished outside the podium with a time of 5:45.77.
It was ringing now for Kenyans Meyan and Bett, who ran from the front. They were well clear of the Ethiopian pair and the noise inside the Kasarani Stadium hit feverpitch.
The duo’s podium finish took Kenya’s medal tally to 15 (four gold, seven silver and four bronze) in fourth. [Dennis Okeyo]