Athletics Athletics

Taki, Chepteek deliver double Cali gold

Kumari Taki celebrates winning gold in the boys' 1500m at the Cali World Youth on July 17. PHOTO/AFP
Kumari Taki celebrates winning gold in the boys’ 1500m at the Cali World Youth on July 17. PHOTO/IAAF

CALI, July 18- Kumari Taki and Celliphine Chepteek delivered the first gold medals for Kenya on the third day of the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia as the country shot up to second in the overall standings behind United States.

On an unforgettable day for global 1500m running, Kumari Taki ensured day three would also be ignited by a stellar metric mile performance as he smashed the boys’ championship record courtesy of a bold front-running display on Friday night.

The 16-year-old Kenyan took the lead from the outset with only his countryman Lawi Kosgei prepared to go with the searing pace set by the stick-thin Taki.

With 600 metres remaining the leader kicked clear of Kosgei and then simply put on a demonstration of his outstanding middle-distance staying power.

He crossed the line in a personal best 3:36.38 to trim 0.39 from Robert Biwott’s championship record and claim Kenyan’s seventh success in nine editions of the event at these championships.

Playing an astute tactical game, Ethiopia’s Mulugeta Assefa benefited from a more conservative approach than Kosgei to catch and pass the fading Kenyan in the latter stages to take silver by 0.33 in a personal best 3:41.33.

A naturally elated Taki, who climbed to number 10 on the all-time youth lists for the boys’ 1500m, added of his first performance outside of Africa:

“It was amazing to improve my personal best and set a championship record. I hope to compete more on the international level. It is a wonderful success.”

Celliphine Chepteek and team mate, Sandra Felis Chebet on their way to the Kenyan girls' steeplechase 1-2 on July 17. PHOTO/IAAF
Celliphine Chepteek and team mate, Sandra Felis Chebet on their way to the Kenyan girls’ steeplechase 1-2 on July 17. PHOTO/IAAF

Predictably, Kenya claimed a second successive 1-2 in the girls’ 2000m steeplechase at the World Youth with an utterly dominant display that returned an upset.

Chepteek Chespol’s superior technique played its part in her success from her favoured countrywoman and Africa Youth champion, Sandrafelis Chebet.

With the pair battling it out for gold at the penultimate water barrier, Tuei’s unorthodox technique of hurdling the obstacle and landing on both feet proved her undoing.

She lost 10 metres in the process and although she making up ground on her countrywoman between hurdles, Chespol was always able to keep her at arms length to win by more than two seconds in 6:17.15 – a time which was to elevate her to eighth on the all-time youth lists.

Kenya moved to two gold, two silver and two bronze in the medal standings behind US who have won two gold, four silver and three bronze.

-Compiled from IAAF