All's well that ends well: Hats off as hosts conclude World U-18 Championships in style

IAAF WORLD U18 CHAMPIONSHIPS KASARANI STADIUM Kenyan 800m Gold Medalist Jackline Wambui celebrates his win during the IAAF World U18 Championships at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday 16/07/17.[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

It’s a winning finish for Kenyans as they wind up fourth with four gold medals.

It was the ending every Kenyan was praying for.

The record crowd that turned up at Kasarani Stadium yesterday was not expecting anything less than glory from their stars, and the youngsters did not disappoint.

It was the last of the five-day IAAF World Under-18 Championships and it was befitting for the hosts to win gold in a race they have dominated in all championships.

The win by Leonard Kipkemoi Bett in the 2,000m steeplechase not only brought life to the fans who filled the stadium but also served as cold revenge to arch rivals Ethiopia.

Kenya’s sworn enemies on the track over the years had threatened to spoil the party for the hosts after Selemon Barega beat Kenyans Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu in the 3,000m.

The win by the Ethiopian came when Kenyan fans were still dancing in the sun after the golden exploits of Jackline Wambui in the 800m girls’ race.

She led compatriot Lydia Jeruto to sweep the top two medals and leave the rest of the field to fight for the bronze.

Saturday was surely a poor day for Kenya in the event as Ethiopians won the girls’ 1,500m and the boys’ 800m titles in front of an unbelieving home crowd.

Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga watched as the Ethiopians basked in glory on the athletics altar of their rivals.

Many on social media argued that the presence of the two political leaders brought "swara" (bad luck) to the competing lot.

Whether that works or not is open to discussion, but those who believe in bad omens will say it was befitting for Kenyans to win two gold medals yesterday (with the political duo missing in attendance).

Kenya's performance was also a befitting end to the championships that will be the last of its kind to be staged.

The turnout over the last three days will also be part of sports history in the country. Only attendance at the 1987 All Africa Games, held at the same venue, came close to the U-18 event.

Fans began streaming into Kasarani as early as 8am, never mind the first event was set to begin at 3pm. Security was tight as fans walked from the bus stage outside Safari Park Hotel to the stadium’s gate 9, which was the main entrance.

The 4km distance from the stage to the gate did not deter, and even when the last event of the championships was over, the fans were not in any hurry to leave.

Who could blame them?

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Arsenal overpower Spurs in north London derby

Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates

Gor Mahia crowned 2017 Kenya Premier League champions after a 2-2 draw with SoNy Sugar

Gor Mahia crowned 2017 Kenya Premier League champions after a 2-2 draw with SoNy Sugar in the final round of the KPL 2017.

Belgian Paul Put appointed Harambee Stars coach

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has appointed Belgian coach Paul Put as Harambee Stars head coach to replace Stanley Okumbi on a two-year contract.

Manchester United squad vs Newcastle revealed ahead of Premier League clash at Old Trafford

Manchester United squad vs Newcastle revealed ahead of Premier League clash at Old Trafford

Kenya battle Hong Kong: Coach says contest is a perfect start for next season

Expectations still high despite national 15’s side losing the first matches to Chile and Russia

FKF delegates decide today: Sports Disputes Tribunal declined to issue orders stopping the debate

Proposals to extend term of office met stiff opposition in the debate.

More Stories
Jepkosgey's new record ratified by IAAF

Joyciline Jepkosgei’s world half marathon record has been ratified by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF).

Kisumu set to host first Athletics Kenya track and field meeting

This will be one of the events before the planned Commonwealth Games trials

Athletics: Ethiopians to spice up Baringo Half Marathon

Seasoned Ethiopian road runners Habtamu Asefa Wakeyo and Keneni Germame Korme jet in today ahead of this weekend’s Lotto Baringo Half Marathon in Kabarnet, the event’s organisers have confirmed.

Training: Kenyatta University hosting IAAF elite coach course

International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) middle-distance, long-distance and RW Endurance Academy Elite Coach Course is ongoing at Kenyatta University.

Kenyan Kalalei triumphs in Athens Marathon

Samuel Kalalei won the 35th Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday as Kenyan runners dominated the gruelling, largely uphill course by sweeping the top five places in the men's race.

Kipchoge, Keitany awarded by Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

This is the third consecutive year for the distance runner to bag the prize

Kenya get 125 slots for Commonwealth

Kenya has been allocated only 125 participants to the next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia on April 4 to 15 next year.

Did David Rudisha collapse on air during a live interview?

David Rudisha has collapsed live on air while running on a treadmill in a Silver Spring gym.

Timely boost for StanChart Nairobi marathon

Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon organisers have received financial boost ahead of the 15th edition of the event on November 26.

Chepng'etich, Cheruiyot headline second AK Cross Country leg

World stars will on Saturday be on parade for the second leg of the Athletics Kenya (AK) Cross Country meeting in Sotik, Bomet County.