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Tarbei, Bett set Samoa CYG showdown

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Willy Tarbei races for the gold medal in the boys' 800m final at the Cali World Youth Championships in Colombia. PHOTO/IAAF
Willy Tarbei races for the gold medal in the boys’ 800m final at the Cali World Youth Championships in Colombia. PHOTO/IAAF

NAIROBI, September 8 – World Youth champion, Willy Tarbei and Kipyegon Bett are through to Wednesday’s boys 800m final as Kenya eyes her second gold at the ongoing Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

Tarbei, who is ranked 18th fastest this season, automatically qualified from heat one in 1:52.17 ahead of George Mills of England who returned 1:52.24 while third finisher, Indian, Beant Singh went through as one of the fasted losers in1:52.93.

African title holder, Kipyegon cruised in the second heat after recording the fastest time of the qualifiers when he crossed the line in 1: 50.68, way ahead of Ben Greenwood of Scotland who booked his automatic spot in 1:52.53.

Zambian, Godfrey Chama benefited from the high paced race to advance as the last fastest loser after timing 1:52.96 to settle for third.

Heat 3 was the slowest where Jamaican Leon Clarke and James Gormley of England completed the finalists list after finishing first and second in 1:55.65 and 1:56.88.

The final is tipped to be a battle between the two young Kenyans who hit headlines in June when they ran stunning 1:44s at the World Youth Trials in the punishing elevation of Nairobi.

However, Kipyegon who won his first gold at the second Africa Youth Championships in Mauritius will be out to challenge Tarbei who has beaten him twice, at the Trials and forcing him to a silver in Cali, Colombia during the World Youth Championships.

Tarbei holds a personal best of 1:44.51 while his friend and compatriot Bett, holds1:44.55 to sit 20th in the 2015 outdoor competition top list.

World Youth record holder, Kumari Taki gave Kenya her first gold in the opening day after leading Lawi Kosgei to a 1-2 finish in the boy’s 1500m final on Monday.

The Kenyans did not have to wait too long to bring home their first medal, as Taki and Kosgei led from start to finish in a master class of middle distance running where the World Youth champion eventually held out to win in 3:39.80, just less than a second ahead of his countryman.

“I’m very happy although the race was not too easy, and we struggled in the last lap a bit. I didn’t perform as well as I did in Cali, Colombia but all I wanted was a medal,” Taki said.

Kenya who are 12th on the log with two medals, have a chance to increase their tally when Sheila Chelangat competes in the girls 3000m final before her boy’s counterparts, World Youth title holder, Richard Kimunyan and Davis Kiplangat take to the track on Wednesday.

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