Kenyan youth leave them gasping in Bressanone 2009


For the first time since the inaugural edition of the Championships Kenya topped the final medal table at the world youth championships held in Bressanone Italy with with 6 golds, 7 silvers and 1 bronze medals with an incredible tally of 7 medals (4 golds and 3 silvers) grabbed on the last afternoon alone! Thus giving Kenyans something to cheer about amid the depressing state of politics and economics in the nation.

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Kenya 6 7 1 14
2 USA 6 5 5 16
3 Great Britain 4 1 1 6
4 Russia 3 2 4 9
5 China 3 2 1 6
6 Germany 2 1 6 9
7 Sweden 2 1 1 4
8 Grenada 2 0 0 2
9 Ethiopia 1 1 4 6
10 France 1 1 0 2
10 Thailand 1 1 0 2


Jeremiah Kipkorir Mutai won a rare silver medal for Kenya in the boys 400m hurdlesIts quite an achievement for a Kenyan considering that there is hardly any specialized training for sprinters or hurdlers in Kenya.Which means Mutai probably prospered on raw talent. Just how good would he be if AK could get him specialized training ?



Hillary Kipsang Yego and Peter Kibet Lagat of extended
Kenya’s dominance in the steeplechase by going 1-2 in the 2000m


Yego who controlled the first two kilometres with a first cautious split of 2:46.89 then a much quicker 2:38.44, eventually took the title
in a world leading time where striking seven seconds from his previous best he clocked 5:25.33 with Lagat clocking 5:26.59. His
authority was only questioned twice, initially when Ethiopia’s Desta Alermu tried to get on the Kenyan pair’s shoulders with 300m
remaining and was quickly blown away and left to finish third in a PB 5:29.66.

Then approaching the final water jump Lagat with a better technique, jumped him and came into the home straight looking good for the gold medal. Yego refused to throw in the towel and in the last 30m accelerated past his fellow
countryman for a fully deserved victory.

“This was a very hard race but I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Yego who trains with top Kenyan stars Edwin Soi and Patrick Terer.

15 year old Mageka runs 3:37





Perhaps the most spectacular performance by a Kenyan came from 15 year old Gideon Mageka.

To put in perspective, the time he ran was fast enough to win gold at the last two Commonwealth games or All African games. This coming from a 15 year old form one student.

He and Caleb Ndiku less than an hour later followed in the footsteps of their fellow 3000 gold and silver medallists Isiah Koech and David Beet with similar authoritive performances.

Their team running saw them dominate the race although with 800m remaining, arch Ethiopian rivals Girma Bekele and Zebene Alemayehu with Qatar’s Mohammed Al-Garni, tried to disrupt them. Alemamayehu and Al-Garni tried hanging on after a swift passage through the first two circuits, but after 1200m began wilting as the Kenyan duo increased the pressure and pace. Bekele was dropped at the bell but managed entering the back straight to regain contact only to receive the biggest fright of his life.

Mageka and Ndiku with 250m remaining erupted, their massive injection of pace carrying them well clear to fight a domestic battle which continue until 50m from the line. Mageka at that point drew ahead to win in a world leader and personal best – his previous stood at 3:40.00 -with Ndiku crossing the line in 3:38.42.

Bekele although blown away on the vital last finished third in a PB 3:39.88. “This is my first proper international track meet which has motivated me more,” said Mageka. “The race was really difficult because my team colleague pushed me. “I come from a very simple home and now I want to have a (professional) career and my own manager.”


Cherono Koech could be confused for a ballet dancer as she crosses the finish line to win gold in the 800m




Cherono Koech with a fantastic burst of finishing pace in the final 200 regained the girls’ 800 title for Kenya last won by Flavious Kwamboka four years ago in Marrakesh.Koech running a perfect race decimated her PB of 2:05.71 when storming to a a new championship record replacing the 2:03.40 Mariya Shapaeva of Russia set in 2003, and a world leading time for the year of 2:01.67.

With this run, Cherono Koech officially became the best 800m runner in Kenya ahead of world beaters Janeth Jepkosgei and Pamela Jelimo.

Cuba’s Rose Almanza after a little bumping and barging down the back straight, headed the field as it approached the bell (59.55) when Tizita Bogale of Ethiopia jumped the field. The Ethiopian’s break wasn’t sustained and she was quickly hauled in before Koech with her determined assault rocketed around the final bend for an easy victory. There was little between the chasing pack until coming down the home straight Ciara Mageean won Ireland’s first medal of the championships and was followed home by Rowena Cole of Great Britain. The pair who determinedly held off Almanza the world’s number two this summer, were rewarded with huge personal bests of 2:03.07 and 2:03.83.Koech despite arriving in the Sud Tyrol ranked seventh in the world, said: “I expected to win but I am still thrilled. “I didn’t even know that I could run this fast,” she added, surprised after setting a championship record.



Nelly Chebet Ngeiywo appears to be conduct a
choir as she crosses the finish line





Nelly Chebet Ngeiywo maintained the continuity of Kenya’s hold on the 1500 gold medal when becoming the third successive winner in a time of 4:12.76.Ngeiywo who peaked perfectly for the championships lowering her personal best to 4:17.10 in her qualifier from a previous fastest of 4:22.1 at altitude in her homeland, had much more speed over the final circuit than Gete Dima and Amela Terzic.

Her pace down the backstraight and off the final bend, pulled her well clear of Dima the Ethiopian clocking 4:15.16.

Terzic from Serbia and ranked third in the world before coming to the meeting, produced a personal best finishing in 4:16.71. Merima Mohammed who was in a pack alongside the trio who were bunched together at the bell was unfortunate to trip 50m afterwards and lost her chance of medalling.

“I was never worried about winning this race,” said Ngeiywo a close friend of Pamela Jelimo the Olympic 800m gold medallist. Ngeiywo who has six brothers and four sisters, revealed: “I train with her, but it is really tough because she is so fast.”


Koech leads a
Kenya 1-2 in the
2 mile race




The gold and silver medal winning sequence of Kenya’s distance runners continued in the 3000m

Isiah Koech may have won the 3000 gold medal but it was the fantastic performance of David Bett with a unforgettable break after 1200m which saw the title remain in Kenyan hands.

For the second successive championships the African nation occupied first and second positions and although he didn’t win Bett made it so easy for himself and his team-mate.


Ethiopia’s Fekru Feyisa took the field through the first kilometres in 2:45.96 and then 200m later Bett ranked second in the world rankings behind Koech, took off like a bullet. He opened up a gap of around 20m
but Koech gradually roped him in and at the bell the pair of uninhibited front runners were shoulder to shoulder.

The taller figure of Koech was content to sit on his companion’s shoulder until unleashing his sprint finish to erase Ethiopia’s Abreham Cherkos’s six year old championship record and improving his world
leader to 7:51.51. Bett likewise substantially lowered his clocking 7:52.13 while
Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle a distant third also ran his fastest ever time of 8:05.83. The winner acknowledging Bett’s contribution, said: “We are focused on team work in Kenya and for it we have been rewarded with gold
and silver.”




Peter Langat Kiplangat and Nicholas Kipkoech settled for silver and bronze after being passed by Swede Johan Rogestedt in a nail biting finish. It was a slight disappointment for the duo who ran 3 seconds slower than
their personal bests



Lucia Mwangi in a thrilling five laps encounter won the silver medal. A late surge saw her close the gap on her Ethiopian opponent, but saw her lose the gold medal by only inches.

Victor Oseko participated in the boys 100m and 200m. The fact that he was fast enough to qualify for this event is quite an achievement considering that once again, their is no specialized sprint training in Kenya. He came close to qualifying for the semis. What probably let him down was his start which was timed at 2 hundreths of a second behind the winners.


Author: riadha

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