Lille squad back in Tuesday

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NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11- The Kenyan squad for the just concluded World Youth Championships will arrive back to the country in two batches on Tuesday.

The first group of the team that lost the overall title to USA by just the one gold will jet in at 2:30pm with the rest of the contingent that won five gold, five silver and six bronze at the 7th edition of the event in Lille, France, checking in at 7:00pm.

“We are delighted with their performance although they just failed to defend their title. People like Kishoyan who ran a World Youth all time best in 800m and his friend who won silver in 400m is a good sign our youth programmes are heading in the right direction.

“Our task is to ensure that those who emerged at this tournament are well taken care of and allowed to fulfill their potential in the junior and senior ranks,” Athletics Kenya (AK) secretary, David Okeyo, told Capital Sport on Monday.

Kenya won two gold medals on the frenetic last day of World Youth action on Sunday as they took on their American competitors in the race for the overall title they won at the 2009 edition in Bressanone, Italy.

Norah Jeruto got the gold rush underway when she raced a world youth year lead of 6:16.41 to win the girl’s 2000m steeplechase and she was on course for the championship or all time best but took a tumble at the last water barrier.

Jeruto, elevated to number four on the world all-time list with a time of 6:20.67 in her qualifier, squashed the challenges of her rivals when leading from the start and claiming her country’s second ever gold medal over the distance.

“I led all the race,” Tanui told IAAF after her brilliant display. “It’s a great day for my town and my country.” Teammate Lilian Jepkorir (6:21.85) ran her career best for bronze.

Next to top the podium was William Sitonik who became the fifth Kenyan 3000m gold medal winner.

Keeping his nerve in a race which went to the wire he lowered his 2011 lead and PB of 7:51.2 set at altitude in Nairobi to a new Championship record of 7:40.10.

The Kenyan who led from gun to tape decimated the previous championship mark of fellow Kenyan Isaiah Koech who posted 7:51.51 two years ago in Bressanone. Teammate Patrick Mutunga completed the 1-2 in a career best of 7:40.47.

It fell to Vincent Mutai and Jonathan Kiplimo to deliver the gold medal that would have certainly seen Kenya defend her title in the last distance of the day, the boy’s 1500m.

While the former did what he thought was enough to take the top medal, Ethiopia’s Teshome Dirirsa came haring down the homestretch and his momentum carried him to Mutai just 10m to the finish and as they dipped for the line, the Kenyan lost gold 3:39.17 against 3:39.13.

USA then won the final event of the World Youth programme, the medley relay to bag their sixth gold that lifted them to the overall title. Jamaica (four gold, a silver and four bronze) finished third.

KENYA MEDALLISTS

GOLD

  • Faith Chepng’etich (1500m girls)
  • Conseslus Kipruto (2000m steeple boys)
  • Norah Jeruto (2000m steeple girls)
  • William Malel (3000m boys)
  • Leonard Kirwa (800m boys)

SILVER

  • Vincent Kiprotich (1500m boys)
  • Gilbert Kiplangat (2000m steeple boys)
  • Patrick Mutunga (3000m boys)
  • Ziporah Wanjiru (3000m girls)
  • Alphas Kishoyian (400m boys)

BRONZE

  • Jonathan Kiplimo (1500m boys)
  • Lilian Jepkorir (2000m steeple gilrs)
  • Caroline Chepkoech (3000m girls)
  • Timothy Kitum (800m boys)

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