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Zakayo, Mburu make easy qualifications for Sunday’s final

SPORTS By Dennis Okeyo | July 14th 2017
Kenyan 3000m Edward Zakayo celebrates winning heat 2 during the IAAF World U18 Championships at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday 13/07/17.[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu easily made it to the boys' 3,000m final of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships.

Zakayo topped his heat with a time of 8:04.85, beating Ethiopian Milkesa Mengisha (8:05.87) with a gap of 10 metres in heat two.

Bereket Michael of Eritrea booked his place in the final in third place. He registered 8:24.54, while Titus Kwemoi (8:37.67) finished fourth.

Selemon Barega of Ethiopia took the first heat in 7:55.73 after running the final kilometre in just outside 2:34. The performance took him to third on this year’s U18 world list.

Mburu was second in 7:59.54, with Oscar Chelimo of Uganda and Merom Goitom of Eritrea both in the 8:08 range

With Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea and Burundi qualifying for the final, it means the title will remain in the East African region, with Kenya and Ethiopia considered to be the front-runners.

Zakayo, a Form One student at Kasait Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet, sounded the warning, saying the final will not be an easy task.

“Definitely the final won’t be easy for us. Ethiopians are known to be very powerful and we must try our best to edge them out,” said Zakayo, who holds a personal best of 7:53.8 in the 3,000m event.

Mburu, a Form Four student at Racheri High School in Nyandarua, expressed optimism that he would do well in the Sunday.

Today (yesterday), I just wanted to qualify for the final, that’s all. The moment I found myself second, I felt comfortable. I can assure my country of good results in the final,” said Mburu, who was second at the national trials in a time of 7:56.0, his personal best.

In the previous Under-18 championships in 2015 in Cali, Colombia, Kenya won gold and silver, with Richard Yator Kimunyan winning gold over his compatriot, Davis Kiplangat. Mburu is keen to maintain the trend.

World U18 leader Nermin Stitkovac of Bosnia-Herzegovina led the way in boys’ shot put qualification with a first-round 19.60m, which remained the longest put of the morning.

Germany’s Timo Northoff also reached the qualifying mark.

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