BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA AND IAAF
Alfred Kipketer and Barnabas Kipyego clinched gold in the mens 800m and 3000m steeplechase races respectively as Kenya finished second overall at the world junior athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday.
Kipketer who is the world youth champion added the junior title to his impressive resume clocking 1:43.95 with compatriot Joshua Masikonde clinching silver in 1:45.14 and Sweden’s Andreas Almgen settling for the bronze in a time of 1:45.56
The Kenyan duo set a blistering pace from the start, covering the first 200m in 23.59 and the first lap in 49.42, about five metres ahead of the rest of the field.
Kipyego made it a double celebration for Kenya, winning the steeplchase. He posted 8:25.57 with Titus Kibiego coming second in 8:26.15 to clinch silver with Bahrain’s Evans Ruto third in 8:32.61
Kipyego made the pace for much of the race, keeping the tempo from dawdling and leading the surges which trimmed the lead group down.
He led through the initial kilometre split of 2:53.56; it was Kibiego’s turn to lead at the second split of 5:42.81.
The pack narrowed to the two Kenyans, world youth champion Meresa Kahsay of Ethiopia, and Rutto but with two laps remaining Kahsay began to get left behind.
It was Kipyego who took off on the last lap, with Kibiego shadowing him but unable to get ahead.
Kipyego stepped smoothly over the last water jump, which Kibiego hurdled a little ineptly, slowing him down a bit. Kipyego got over the final barrier more smoothly, giving him a slight advantage he held to the finish.
“Leading from the start to the end is what we had planned,” Kipyego explained. “This event is for Kenyans.”
Sheila Keter had to settle for bronze in the womens 1500m behind Ethiopian pair, Dawit Seyaum (4:09.86) and Gudaf Tsegay (4:10.83) clinched gold and silver with Keter clocking 4:11.21
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke