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Kenya surrenders 800m Boys gold to Ethiopia

Ethiopia Melese Nberet and Tolesa Bodena leading in the Boys 800m final. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – Kenya surrendered the Boys 800m title to rivals Ethiopia after losing the gold medal for the first time since 2009 with Japheth Kibiwott settling for bronze in a race won by Melese Nberet in a World Lead time of 1:47.12 on Saturday night.

Cheered by a massive over 45,000 lively fans that thronged the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani, Kibiwott could not handle the pressure despite picking up well with 400m left to settle for bronze in a Personal Best of 1:27.16 behind Ethiopian Tolesa Bodena, who timed a Personal Best of 1:47.16 to ensure his country complete a 1-2 podium sweep.

The last time Kenya missed out gold in the event was way back at the Bressanone, Italy edition in 2009, when Swedish Johan Rogestedt condemned Kenyans Peter Langat and Nicholas Kiplangat to silver and bronze respectively.

The result saw Kenya drop to sixth in the medal standings with a total of nine medals; 2 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze while rivals Ethiopia climbed to fourth with nine medals, 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze.

Kenya’s Japhet Kibiwott Toroitich after bagging bronze at the 2017 IAAF World U18 Championships.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

After charging through the bell in 51.53, led by Kibiwott, the small lead group stayed together throughout the second lap.

Juan Castro of Costa Rica was the first casualty of the fast early pace, slipping back down the home straight.

While it seemed Kibiwott might be able to hold on after his brave effort, Ethiopia’s Melese delivered a late kick to take gold and shock the Kenyans at home.

“The race was fine. I knew I had to kick in the last metres so I preserved my energy on the first lap,” Melese said afterwards.

Kenya’s Japheth Kibiwott Toroitich leading in the Boys 800m final at the IAAF World U18 Championships.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Castro settled for fourth position in 1:49.76, he dipped under 1:50.00 for the first time in his career.

Earlier in the day, sensational Mary Moraa from Mogonga Secondary School in Kiisi County, lightened up the crowd when she anchored Team Kenya to the qualification of Sunday’s 4x400m Mixed Relays Final.

The Kenyan quartet of Kelvin Sawe, Gloria Mulee, David Saneyek and Moraa produced a brilliant performance to beat power house Jamaica (3:25.61) and Brazil (3:25.64) from Heat 1 in 3:24.76.

Kenya’s Moitalel Naadokila celebrating after winning silver in the Boys 400m Hurdle at 2017 IAAF World U18 Championships

In the Boys 400m Hurdles, Moitalel Naadokila gave Kenya the surprise silver medal after returning a Personal Best of 52.06 to the delight of a large home crowd.

South African Zazini Sokwakhana won gold in 49.27 while Frenchmen Baptiste Christophe claimed bronze in 52.21.

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