Manangoi, Kipkemboi in 1,500m final as U-18 champs kick-off
Kenyans Dominic Kipkemboi and George Manangoi qualified for the 1,500m final of the World Under-18 Championships as competition kicked off at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Wednesday morning.
Despite being a working day, athletics enthusiasts showed up for the historic event. The Kenyan athletes did not fail the home crowd as with Managoi and Kipkemboi leaping closer to a medal in the final slated for Friday, while Elijah Onkware punched his ticket to the 100m semi finals during the morning session.
Managoi, who is the younger brother to the World 1,500m silver medalist Elijah Manangoi, is now eyeing the world title noting he is going for nothing less than top podium finish.
The 17-year old Managoi, had a comfortable lead in the second heat of the race to cross the finish line in 3:55.00. Ethiopian Belete Mekonen finished second in 3:56.31 while Ugandan Daniel Kiprop finished third in 3:58.68.
“I did not want to strain myself very much today because I’m eyeing the top podium finish on Friday. I lost to Kipkemboi during last month’s trials but now I believe in myself.
“I have been training well, I’m in good shape and I hope to lower my personal best on Friday,” Managoi said during the post race interview.
His counterpart Kipkemboi braved an injury and the shoe coming off in the last lap to cross the finish line in 3:48.77, ahead of Oussama Cherrad (3:48.93) of Algeria and Abebe Dessassa (3:49.58) from Ethiopia.
The 17-year old Onkware, was the first Kenyan athlete on the track and set the stage for his compatriots with a motivating performance, finishing third with a personal best of 10.78 in heat 5 alongside Tyreke Wilson of Jamaica (10.60) and Daniel Mahautiere (10.74) of Dominican Republic.
In the girls 100m. Mary Moraa qualified for semi-finals set for Thursday. Moraa is hopeful of a better performance after setting a PB of 54.07. She will be joined by Sharon Jebet who also registered a PB of 55.91, finishing second in the fourth heat.
Kevin Sawe Tauta and David Sanyek closed the morning session with spirited performance in the boys 400m. Tauta topped his heat to clock 47.36 while Sanayek finished second in the fourth heat in 47.29.
In the afternoon, President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected at the opening ceremony, with World Junior 5,000m silver medalist Emmaculate Chepkirui expected to deliver the first gold for Kenya in the 3,000m final.
She is also targeting to break the world U-18 record of 8:53.94 in the race at 19:40hrs EAT (+3GMT).
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