Kenyans delight Finland on Day One at WU20


Athletics - 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships – men's 10 000m final – Tampere, Finland – July 10, 2018. Rhonex Kipruto of ...
Athletics - 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships – men's 10 000m final – Tampere, Finland – July 10, 2018. Rhonex Kipruto of Kenya celebrates. Lehtikuva/Kalle Parkkinen via REUTERS

In Summary

  • The first night of action at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland saw two distance finals take place, with Kenya snatching gold in both
  • Beatrice Chebet took the women’s 5000m in 15:30.77, with compatriot Rhonex Kipruto winning the men’s 10,000m in 27:21.08, a championship record

The first night of action at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland saw two distance finals take place, with Kenya snatching gold in both.

Beatrice Chebet took the women’s 5000m in 15:30.77, with compatriot Rhonex Kipruto winning the men’s 10,000m in 27:21.08, a championship record.

But while the gold medals are set to head to the same destination next week, the manner in which they were earned couldn’t have contrasted more.

Kipruto won his title via a long, punishing run from home in the 25-lap race, his decisive move coming a little over 3000m from home.

The early pace was cut out by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, a bronze medallist in the same race two years ago, who passed 3000m in a steady but far scorching 8:25.42.

Soon the Ugandan grew tired of the river of men flowing in his slipstream, so he moved to the side, the first time Kipruto hit the front.

The Kenyan injected a noticeable surge which whittled the leading pack to five, but shortly after the halfway point he got sick of being in front and slowed quickly, forcing teammate Solomon Boit to take a turn.

The key change of pace came in the seventh kilometre, which Kipruto covered in 2:38.76, then followed it up with kilometre splits of 2:42.51 and 2:42.18.

That left him all alone out front, and he never looked like faltering as he reeled off another 2:37.68 split to finish, his lead only growing as he approached the line to win by a wide distance.

His two 5000m splits were 13:57.22 and 13:23.86.

“I’m very happy, it was a great day,” said Kipruto. “It was an honour to represent my country and my people. The competitors were tough but I was able to stay focused.”

Kiplimo came through strongly for second in 27:40.36, while Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi took third with 27:48.41.

‘good fight’

Athletics - 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships – women's 5000 m run – Tampere, Finland – July 10, 2018. Beatrice Chebet of Kenya celebrates. Lehtikuva/Kalle Parkkinen via REUTERS

The women’s 5000m, meanwhile, turned into a burn-up over the final lap, which Beatrice Chebet covered in a blistering 62.66 to take gold.

The Japanese duo of Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu and Miku Moribayashi made the pace respectable in the early stages but drifted back into the pack before 2000m.

The pace didn’t pick up again until Ethiopia’s Ejegayehu Taye put in a 71.87 lap – the first lap at sub-15-minute pace – through the 4000-metre checkpoint in 12:40.12.

This was followed by a 72.31 last lap and by the bell, which was reached in 14:28.11, the pack was reduced to four. With a final kilometre of 2:50.66, Chebet crossed the finish line in a 15:30.77 PB, winning by just 0.10 from Taye.

“I am happy to win the gold medal for my country,” said Chebet. “It was tough racing the two Ethiopians as they are strong but I had a good fight with them.”

Taye also set a lifetime best although the 18-year-old was hoping for more on her European debut.

“Second feels bad,” she said. “I wanted first. The time was good and the team tactics were good. They worked but we still wanted the gold medal.”

Third place went to Ethiopia’s Girmawit Gebrzihair in 15:34.01.

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