Kenya and Ethiopia open fresh battle field on the track

By Denis Okeyo: Saturday, July 14th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
[PHOTO: COURTESY]

George Manangoi, the new IAAF World Under-20 champion, has dedicated the gold medal to his late sister Bena who died two weeks ago as he prepared for the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Manangoi toyed around with his challengers in the race that started with a slow pace before Ethiopia's Samuel Tefere shot to the front. Manangoi remained tucked behind before producing a scintillating sprint to win in 3:41.7.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway settled for silver in 3:41.89 as Kenya's Justus Soget (3:42.14) picked bronze. Tefere faded to fifth place.

“I have had three difficult weeks, losing my elder sister then falling sick on my way here. That's why I am dedicating this victory to my sister. 'I love you Bena, may You Rest Peace',” an emotional Manangoi told the Standard Sports in Tampere.

He added: “Going to the race, I wasn’t sure of victory. The two athletes had run faster times than me, but my elder brother Elijah (Manangoi) and coach Benard Ouma assured me that in championship, sometimes there is no favourite athlete and anything can happen and, indeed, it happened.”

Soget said he was happy bagging bronze. “This is my first time to compete in the national team. And to come here and finish on the podium is something good.”

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World Under-18 champion Jackline Wambui, failed in her quest to finish on the podium, taking the wooden spoon. World Under-18 silver medalist Mary Moraa finished fifth in women’s 400m final.

Kenyans Stanley Mburu Waithaka and Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze Edward Zakayo take on Ethiopia's Selemon Baregain in what is a reenactment of the Nairobi 2017 World Under-18 Championships showdown.

“I did enough preparation. Enough to bring home the title. I know Berega is in good shape and so is the Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo but we are not afraid of them," Zakayo said.

World Under-18 race walk bronze medalist Dominic Ndigit aims to add another jewel to his cabinet in today’s 10000m race walk final while national triple jump champion Gloria Mulei lines up in qualification rounds. Solomon Lekuta qualified for today's 800m semi-finals.

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