Gold at last as Kinyamal races to GC2018 glory
- Wycliffe Kinyamal raced to glory in the men's 800m final to deliver Kenya its first gold medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia
- The 20-year-old upstaged Glasgow 2014 champion and pre-race favourite Nijel Amos with a brave performance, spiriting off the pack and motoring for an impressive 1:45.11 finish but was pushed all the way by English Kyle Langford
Wycliffe Kinyamal raced to glory in the men’s 800m final to deliver Kenya its first gold medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The 20-year-old upstaged Glasgow 2014 champion and pre-race favourite Nijel Amos with a brave performance, spiriting off the pack and motoring for an impressive 1:45.11 finish but was pushed all the way by English Kyle Langford.
Amos had darted to the front early to assume the front-running duties before Kinyamal and compatriot Jonathan Kitilit went ahead inside the second lap.
Kinyamal then injected a turn of pace to pull away from the chasing pack and just as it increasingly looked liked a Kenyan 1-2, Kitilit wilted as Langford reeled in on the leader down the final stretch.
“I feel very happy that I was able to deliver the first gold for my country. We had expected one from the men’s 400m hurdles but that did not come to be. We have been waiting for the medal for the past few days and finally it’s here,” said the freshly minted champion.
The Kenyan did just enough to hold off Langford who settled for second in 1:45.16 as Australian Luke Matthews took the least podium place in 1:45.60 with Kitilit finishing sixth in 1:45.60.
“Everything has gone as we planned. Our main aim was to deliver that gold, and the rest will follow. I’m happy for Kinyamal though I have not won any medal. My next focus will be the Diamond League where I intend to lower my personal best,” said Kitilit in his post race interview.
The excitement of sealing the first gold was evident as head coach Japeth Kimei, Joshua Chelanga and Alex Sampao rushed to the finish line to receive Kinyamal, with enthusiastic and emotional hugs, all conveying congratulatory messages.
“I thank God for finally answering our prayers. I was feeling very disappointed and embarrassed for losing most of our titles. We were not very sure about this race because Kinyamal had an injury scare, but he has surprised us with the medal.
“Now we have a reason to smile because with that one we have something to present,” said Sampao at the mixed zone.
Kinyamal who trains at Kaptagat, Uasin Gishu County, did not disclose how he was going to celebrate his hard earned medal but hinted that several cows will be slaughtered to mark the start of what he projects to be a glowing career in the two lap race.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto took on twitter to express their joy over the much awaited gold medal.
“Well done Wycliffe Kinyamal for winning the first gold for Team Kenya in the Commonwealth Games men’s 800m. Wishing the entire team, all the best,” twitted President Kenyatta.
“Congratulations to Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal for winning gold in the men’s 800m in 1:45.11 while compatriot Jonathan Kitilit was sixth in the Commonwealth Games,” Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, who is in Gold Coast, congratulated.
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