Kwemoi uncorks CR for Kenya’s first gold in Poland
Japan based teenager, Rodgers Kwemoi Chumo, uncorked a blistering performance to deliver his country’s first gold medal by blazing to glory in the men 10000m final in a championship record of 27:25.23 to round off a scintillating opening day of action at the IAAF Worlds Under 20 in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Tuesday night.
Kwemoi, 19, became the second recipient of the top medal at this edition of the global biennial track and field event following in the footsteps of home athlete, Konrad Bukowiecki, who took the honours in the men Shot put final with a best effort of 23.34m that stands as a new national Under 20 record.
Eritrea’s Aron Kifle (27:25.23) who was rewarded with a national Under 20 record and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo (27:26.20) followed in Kwemoi’s slipstream to fill the podium in the silver and bronze positions and that only told half the story.
Such was the searing pace the youngsters set out with, flying past the 6000m and 7000m marks in 16:29.31 and 19:17 that all the top six finishers ran to personal bests in what was a enthralling display of furious running over the 25 laps.
For good measure, Ethiopians Amedework Walelegn (28:00.14) and Hailu Gizachew (28:09.57) as well as the second Kenyan in the race, newcomer Ronald Kiprotich Kirui (28:13.43) sealed the top six in that order and left the track with lifetime bests to cherish.
It was Kenya’s eighth title in the history of this event, with Chumo coming in to the global competition the best at the country’s ultra-competitive national U20 championships in Nairobi last month.
“I came here expecting to win,” said Chumo. “I took the race out fast because I felt that would give me the best chance. Once we were on the last lap I knew I would take it.”
Then, Kwemoi ran 28:26.76 to defeat Kirui by two seconds before going on to deliver victory at an event where legends Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and compatriot Daniel Komen as well as another Ethiopian; Ibrahim Jeilan used as the platform upon which their future success was built after winning in 10000m.
What remains to be seen is whether the newest star in Bydgoszcz will go on to ascend the heights.
The three out in front Kifle, Kwemoi and Kiplimo separated from the challengers and were absolutely flying, zipping along the splits in what was a frenetic pace for a 25-lap competition.
Approaching the 3000m mark, reached in 8:24.63, Eritrea’s Kifle surged to the front and began to take a group of eight athletes clear with a 2:44 kilometre.
However, Chumo soon responded in kind, surging back to the front and running a 2:39.33 kilometre to take a group of four clear.
Halfway was reached in 13:48.18, but with the pace cranking up all the time, it was clear that the championship record of 27:30.85, run in the same stadium by another Kenyan, Josphat Bett Kipkoech back in 2008, was about to come under threat.
Kifle and Chumo traded blows at the front over the kilometres that followed, trading steady laps of 68 seconds with laps as quick as 63. As they reached 8000m in 22:03.45, Chumo held the lead ahead of Kifle, with Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo looming as an ominous threat in their slipstream.
With just under five laps to run, Kiplimo surged to the lead for the first time, but his move did nothing to hurt Chumo or Kifle, the Kenyan soon surging back to the front.
With 400m to run, Chumo still held the lead and took several glances behind him as he moved through the gears on the back straight in an effort to drop the two athletes behind.
The first to crack was Kiplimo, who could offer nothing more on the final turn, leaving Kifle as the only one who could stop Kenya taking this title for the first time since 2010.
Kifle surged up to Chumo’s shoulder on the final turn, but the moment he did Chumo found an extra gear and moved clear to take the title in 27:25.23.
Kirui faded out of contention in the final kilometres and finished sixth in 28:13.43.
Material from IAAF was used to write this report
1 594 Rodgers Kwemoi KEN 27:25.23 CR
2 277 Aron Kifle ERI 27:26.20 NU20R
3 857 Jacob Kiplimo UGA 27:26.68 PB
4 329 Amedework Walelegn ETH 28:00.14 PB
5 324 Gizachew Hailu ETH 28:09.57 PB
6 592 Ronald Kiprotich Kirui KEN 28:13.43 PB
7 278 Mogos Shumay ERI 28:23.76
8 858 Martin Musau UGA 28:34.33
9 581 Hayato Seki JPN 28:57.76
10 528 Pietro Riva ITA 29:25.09 PB
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