Kenyans began their hunt for athletics glory on a high note at the ongoing Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association (FEASSSA) in Arusha, Tanzania.
They ruled Sheikh Abeid Stadium outclassing their opponents to top the medal standing with 16 medals; seven gold, four silver and five bronze on day one of track and field events.
Uganda were second with 12 medals, five gold, five silver and two bronze while hosts Tanzania bagged three silver and five bronze medals.
Kenya also topped both the boys and girls’ standings.
Shadrack Tuituek set Kenyans on path to victory after tearing apart the boys 10,000m field to take gold. Tuituek braved the chilly morning to ease home in 30 minutes and 32.7 seconds.
Homeboy Mahamudu Katama would come in second to take silver in a time of 30:39.5 amid cheers from his countrymen who had turned up to watch the games. Kenya's Hezron Krop crossed the finish line 22 seconds later to take bronze.
Tuituek attributed his victory to good preparations and team work.
"I prepared well for the challenge and we also had a game plan that would help us outclass our opponents and ensure that we both win medals," said the form three student from Iringithathi Mixed School.
Glad to have sealed a double having won the national title in June, Tuituek said that he was hoping for a 1-2 finish.
"We had planned to let our opponents set the pace for us and it worked because the Tanzanians did the job. I signaled Hezron to get behind me so we could easily overpower them and snatch gold and silver but he was more affected by the chilly weather and had to settle for third place, even so I'm still glad that we both won medals," Tuituek concluded.
In the girls’ 5,000m, Pamela Kosgei who didn't shy away from acknowledging that her elder sister Brigid Kosgei is her inspiration was too good for her opponents the field to win the race in 17 minutes and 15.8 seconds, well ahead of Scarlet Chemutai of Uganda (17:20.9) and Tanzania’s Neema Nyaisawa Siluli (17:24.8).
“I got a lot of experience running in the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Cali, and despite not winning any medal, that helped me a lot in this race today. I want to emulate my sister, she is my role model and mentor. My desire is to walk in her footsteps and make her proud,” Pamela said.
Kenyans dominated the 1,500m winning gold in both the boys and girls races. Frankline Kimutai cruised home in 3:56.8, ahead of Uganda's Raymond Omara (3:57.7) and Tanzania’s Machiman Masanja who clocked 3:58.0
Mary Nyaboke would later lead teammate, Diana Chepteek in winning gold and silver. Nyaboke announced her intentions to win the title, leading all the way to the finish line. She clocked 4:27.5 while Chepteek came in second in a time of 4:30.5.
Nyaboke led from gun to tape to win in four minutes and 27.5 seconds as Chepteek took silver after clocking 4:30.5. Tanzania's Revina Nalubwa Magobe crossed the finish line in 4:32.7 to take bronze.
“It was an interesting race and we proved our mettle by dominating the race from start to finish. Our opponents could not keep up with our pace and we are glad our tactics worked well today,” said Nyaboke, a form two student at Keberesi Secondary School.
Kenyan boys also secured gold in Discus, High Jump and Javelin to cap off a good day in both track and field events. The country will be aiming for more medals today as the athletics program concludes.