Kipyegon sets stage for Kenyan steeple sweep

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Vincent Kipyegon Ruto of Kenya in the opening round of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016.PHOTO/IAAF

Vincent Kipyegon Ruto of Kenya in the opening round of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016.PHOTO/IAAF

POLAND, July 21 – As expected, Kenya’s quest for a 15th straight title in the men’s 3000m steeplechase went according to script as the third day of competition at IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 got underway on Thursday.

Vincent Kipyegon and Amos Kirui, the athletes cast for a fourth successive Kenyan 1-2 finish at these championships and an 11th overall comfortably advanced to Sunday afternoon’s final finishing first and second, respectively, in their respective heats.

Kipyegon, the world U18 champion, cruised to an 8:37.20 win in the second heat, nearly two seconds clear of Ethiopian Kidanemariam Dessie (8:39.05).

In heat one, Kirui reached the line in 8:44.32, just a step behind Ethiopian Getnet Wale, whose 8:43.92 was a season’s best.

Yemane Haileselassie of Eritrea, the year’s second fastest coming in to Bydgoszcz at 8:22.52, and Mohamed Ismail Ibrahim of Djibouti, who arrived in Poland with sub-8:24 credentials, also cruised into the final.

Meanwhile, in the opening round of the 200m, heavy favourite Michael Norman of the US made his eagerly awaited world U20 debut by winning his heat by more than half a second in 20.74.

In a round that witnessed no major casualties, South Africans Clarence Munyai and Tlotliso Leotlela were the fastest, winning their respective heats in 20.40 and 20.63. Leotlela finished fourth in last night’s 100m final, just 0.02 seconds behind bronze medallist Mario Burke of Barbados.

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