Manangoi clinches Kenya’s first gold in 1500m

Manangoi clinches Kenya's first gold in 1500m

Kenya’s George Manangoi bagged the hosts first gold medal emphatically with a brilliant display of tactical running in the 1500m as he upstaged Ethiopian pair of Belete Mekonen and Adebe Dessasa to the top plaudits in scintillating fashion at the IAAF Under-18 athletics championships at Kasarani in the capital Nairobi .

Fellow Kenyan Dominic Kipkemboi who was expected in the 1500m did not start in the race due to a lingering injury leaving Manangoi to carry the host’s hopes in the 1500m boys race.

Ethiopian Belete Mekonen and his compatriot Adebe Dessasa surged ahead after 800m as Manangoi lurked in the fringes.

The Ethiopian duo stepped on the gas pedal but it seems Manangoi had a card up his sleeve and he made his decisive kick in the final 50m to bag Kenya’s first gold in emphatic fashion and the host nation’s second medal.

-Double steeplechase glory-

Before the partisan Kenyan crowd had settled into their seats after celebrating Manangoi’s memorable victory, another final was on the cards as Mercy Chepkurui and Caren Chebet chased more glory in the girls’ steeplechase race.

Buoyed by the vocal crowd, another sizzling climax was in the offing as the two surged ahead from the onset. Shoulder to shoulder the two exchanged leads hunted down by Ethiopia’s Meswat Asmare and Etalemahu Sintayehu the battle was an east African affair.

In the final lap, the drama unfolded as Chepkurui who was on the verge of the gold medal as they slowly pulled away from the chasing pack stumbled in the final hurdle and Chebet pounced on her compatriot’s misfortunes to surge ahead and bag the gold as Chepkurui seemingly deflated by her fall settled for the silver.

It was a dramatic moment for Team Kenya with two more medals in a span of 20 minutes, taking the tally to two gold and two silver.

More to follow…

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Story By Bernard Ndong
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