Zakayo brings home Kenya’s second medal at GC2018


Kenya’s Edward Pingua Zakayo celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the athletic's men's 5000...
(FILE)Kenya’s Edward Pingua Zakayo celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the athletic's men's 5,000m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS

In Summary

  • Teenager Edward Zakayo battled through an experienced line of opposition as he raced to a bronze finish in the men's 5000m, delivering Kenya's second medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia
  • African champion Samuel Gathimba had clinched a historic bronze for Kenya in the men's 20km walk race when he clocked 1:19:51 to finish behind eventual winner Dane Bird-Smith of Australia (1:19.34 CR) and England’s Tom Bosworth (1:19:38)

Teenager Edward Zakayo battled through an experienced line of opposition as he raced to a bronze finish in the men’s 5000m, delivering Kenya’s second medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

African champion Samuel Gathimba had clinched a historic bronze for Kenya in the men’s 20km walk race when he clocked 1:19:51 to finish behind eventual winner Dane Bird-Smith of Australia (1:19.34 CR) and England’s Tom Bosworth (1:19:38).

Zakayo who won 3000m silver at last year’s World Under-18 championships in Nairobi, then brought home the second bronze as he clocked 3:54.06 to finish behind Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed (13:52.78) and Ugandan ace Joshua Chepetegei who won the title in 13:50.83.

“I feel good but a little disappointed because I missed the chance to win my first gold medal. It’s only my first senior race so I will go easy on myself. Now I go back to work on speed and endurance as I focus on the forthcoming IAAF World U-20 Championships in Finland,” Zakayo in his post-race interview.

World 10,000m silver medalist Cheptigei earned his first global title in a tight finish against Ahmed, a fast rising star who finished four seconds faster than Zakayo.

Zakayo vowed to return to claim the crown that was last won by Beijing silver medalist Caleb Mwangangi Ndinku.

Compatriots, 2010 Moncton 5,000m title holder David Bett and Africa U-20- 10,000m champion Nicholas Kipkorir could hardly hide their emotions after finishing outside the medal bracket.

The race started at a steady pace with Bett taking an early lead as Zakayo na Kipkorir sat at the back of the group. A pace they kept in the second lap as Zakayo charged to take lead. Ugandan Thomas Ayeko did the donkey work, performing rabbit duties for his country men who started opening small gap with only five laps to go.

With four laps to go Ugandans showed Kenyans that they meant business at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast.

Cheptegei who trains at the Global Sports Communication based at Kaptagat, Usain Gishu County alongside Olympic and two-time London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge took the lead with of the race for the first time increasing the race pace as him and his teammate Philip Kipyeko opened a wider gap prepping for a Ugandan 1,2 finish.

Kenyans tried to keep with the duo as Ahmed chased for a medal bracket finish. Kipkorir and Bett ran out gas and out of touch with the chasing group to rank ninth and 11.

“The performance was not as good as I had expected, the weather played a role on us even though we reported a week before the race. Everything has a first time and there is still a lot to do as a young athlete. The first laps were okay but when we got to the last kilometer my body failed to respond and pick as planned.

“When I go back I will start preparing for next month’s IAAF Shangai Diamond League series which will be part of my preparations for a better personal best ,” said Kipkorir after stopping the timer at 14.11.37 as Kiprotich crossed the finish line in 14:18.80.

As the competitions enter Day 4 on Monday, the highlight attraction will be the women’s 10,00m race finals at the Carrara Stadium, Gold Coast Australia.

All eyes will be on Sandrafelis Chebet, Stacy Ndiwa and Beatrice Mutai who will be hunting a possible 1,2,3 finish as they bid to retain Kenya’s 2014 Glasgow title.

In the women 1500m, Olympians Beatrice Chepkoesh and Winny Chebet will be out to progress to the semi finals during the heats stages alongside compatriot Mary Wangar.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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