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Zakayo leads 1-2 sweep: Commonwealth Games silver medalist shows no respect for Ethiopia’s World Under-18 champ

Kenyan Edward Zakayo (gold) and Stanley Waithaka (silver) celebrates their victory during the 5000m final in Tampere, Finland.[Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

World Under-18 3,000m silver medalist Edward Zakayo orchestrated Kenya’s 1-2 finish at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships at the Ratina Stadium yesterday.

Zakayo, who won silver at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in Australia last April, led Stanley Waithaka in men’s 5000m finals in what took Kenya’s gold medal tally to five. He beat Ethiopia’s rising star Solomon Barega to fourth place.

He won in 13:20.13, Waithaka returned in 13:20.57 while Jakob ingebrigtsen finished third in 13:20.78, a Norwegian U20 record, his second medal of the championships after winning silver in men’s 1500m earlier in the championships.

“I feel great to beat Barega and that was my mission here. I ran behind to him all through before sprinting in the last 100m. I congratulate my team mate Waithaka. He kept our rivals in check throughout the race,” Zakayo told Standard Sports.

Waithaka was happy with Team Kenya’s performance: “We really worked hard in training. We prepared well for this race.”

In men’s 800m semi-finals, Solomon Lekuta and Kipngetich Ngeno secured their places in today’s final after topping their respective heats.

Lekuta timed 1:47.56 to beat Ethiopian Adisu Girma who posted 1:47.88 while Ngeno timed 1:46.81 in the fastest time of the semis.

On Friday night, Celliphine Chespol won Kenya’s fourth gold in the 3000m steeplechase timing 9:12.78 becoming the first runner to defend World Under-20 championships title in Tampere, Finland.

Chespol’s victory slid Kenya to the top of the medal table with four gold medal and one bronze for three consecutive days.  

She shot into the front with three laps with a strong kick as Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai and Bahraini Winfred Yavi struggled to keep up the pace.  

Chespol won in 9:12.78, a championship record, as Chemutai crossed the line in 9:18.87 for silver. Yavi of Bahrain timed 9:23.47 while Kenyan Mercy Chepkuri, a  world under-18 event’s silver medalist, finished fourth in 9:43.65.

“It is a special achievement for me to defend my world under-20 title. I was a under pressure to win and I had to employ some tactics to burn out my challengers early in the race. I never wanted to allow them space to stay behind me.

“This is my last competition in the juniors. I will now concentrate on senior competitions. I will compete in Monaco Diamond League and the Afri Championships in Nigeria,” said Chespol.

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