NAIROBI, July 10 – Josphat Kipkoech Bett set a new championship record as he won the 10,000 metres gold in day two of the World Junior Championships in Poland on Wednesday night.,
Running for Kenya for the first time, the 18-year-old upset pre-race favourite, reigning champion and World Cross Country junior champion Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia to win in 27:30.85 – slashing more than 32 seconds from the previous mark.
Titus Mbishei made it a 1-2 for Kenya clinching silver in a personal best time of 27:31.65.
The quick early pace saw a group of six move clear right from the start.
Both Kenyans, Jeilan, Ethiopia’s Hunegnaw Mesfin, Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich and Japan’s Ryuji Kashiwabara set the pace through 2,000m at 5:27.88.
The Japanese was the first to drop off as the two Kenyans drove the pace on through 13:50.23 at 5,000m.
Bett and Mbishei worked together to the finish with the latter leading at the bell. However, Bett attacked with venom with about 200 metres to go, although his compatriot appeared to be coming back at him.
The battle between the pair helped make the last kilometre the second-quickest of the race at 2:40.54.
Bett said he was pleased that Kenya took the title away from their arch rivals.
“I was very confident before this race,” he said. "I am very happy that we beat Ethiopia after they won the title last time.”
Mbishei said: “I expected we would beat the Ethiopians. We lost to them at the World cross-country this year so it was time we had our revenge.”
Jeilan initially appeared in need of medical attention after crossing the line in 28:07.98, but then walked away draped in the Ethiopian flag, celebrating a bronze medal with which he expressed delight afterwards.
In other results, the World Youth 800 metres champion Geoffrey Kibet qualified for the final after finishing second in his heat. There was however no such joy for Felix Martine Konchellah, who was second last in his semi-final.
Kenya’s expects to increase her medal tally on Thursday evening with two finals scheduled to take place.
Christine Kambua Muyanga and Elizabeth Mueni will champion Kenya’s cause in the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, seeking to defend the title won by Caroline Tuigong two years ago.
World Youth 1,500 metres champion Frederick Musyoki will then attempt to add the junior crown to the one he won in Ostrava last year, when he lines up in the final. The 17-year-old will have James Magut for company in the race.
In Thursday’s early action, Patrick Terer and Jonathan Muia both qualified for the final in the 3,000 metres steeplechase. Muia won his heat in 8:42.32 while Terer was third in his heat in 8:50.03.