NAIROBI, September 9 – Kenya closed her charge at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in golden fashion to push the nation’s tally to four gold and three silver with only one of the country’s eight runners for the event failing to medal.
The fourth instalment of what is developing to be intense rivalry between World Youth champion, Willy Tarbei and African Youth title holder, Kipyegon Bett was once again went in the favour of the former as Kenya bagged three gold medals on the final day of the track and field events.
Wednesday was a bright day for Kenya as reigning African champion; Davis Kiplangat won the boys’ 3000m before Sheila Chelangat claimed the corresponding girls race to see her country rise to eighth in the medal standings.
As expected, the boys’ 800m was an all Kenyan affair with Tarbei extending his impressive form over Kipyegon who is yet to floor the lanky 17 year-old domestic rival in their last three meetings when he uncorked a gun to line performance for gold in 1:46.15.
Kipyegon who looked a good bet to beat his neighbour in Kericho County after returning the fastest time in the semi-finals (1: 50.68), settled for silver in 1:46.15 which was a repeat of the finishing order at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Scotsman, Ben Greenwood won bronze way behind the two Kenyans after clocking 1:50.42.
The pair who surprised many during the June World Youth Trials in Nairobi when they produced jaw-dropping performances after running in the1:44 territory, look promising to be Kenya’s future in the two lap-race as they aim to emulate their role model, Olympics and world champion as well as record holder, ‘King’ David Rudisha.
However, there was no medal for Kenya in the girls 800m after Joyline Cherotich finished just outside the podium after settling for fourth in 2:11.55 in a final won by Australian, Carys Mcaulay (2:06.84).
The boys’ 3000m saw Kiplangat stun country man, Richard Kimunyan who was favourite after entering the competition on the back of being crowned World Youth Champion.
Kiplagat who holds the African title, out sprinted Kimunyan to give Kenya her second gold after crossing the line in 7:59.78 to force compatriot to silver and overturn tables after finishing second in Colombia.
Alex Yee from England grabbed bronze a minute later behind the Kenyans in 8:18.12. In the girl’s race, Chelangat clinched her first international gold in commanding fashion.
Chelangat, the World Youth silver medallist and African bronze winner, finally achieved her dreams when she took the 3000m honours in 9:10.12 after relegating Ugandans, Peruth Chemutai (9:20.20) and Janat Chemutso (9:56.62) to silver and bronze respectively.
World Youth, record holder, Kumari Taki opened Kenya’s medal hunt account after leading Lawi Kosgei to a 1-2 finish in the boys’ 1500m final on Monday.
Kenya was only represented on the track after the government declared it had no money to send other disciplines, forcing team sports, rugby and volleyball to pull out but Athletics Kenya decided to facilitate the runners.
The Commonwealth Youth Games is a small-scale version of the Commonwealth Games, designed for the youth of the 71 Commonwealth countries.
3000m – Men
(GOLD) Davis KIPLANGAT – KEN (7:59.56)
(SILVER) Richard KIMUNYAN – KEN (7:59.78)
(BRONZE) Alex YEE – ENG (8:18.12)
3000m – Women
(GOLD) Sheila CHELANGAT- KEN (9:10.12)
(SILVER) Peruth CHEMUTAI -UGA (9:20.20)
(BRONZE) Janat CHEMUSTO – UGA (9:56.62)
800m – Men – Final
(GOLD) Willy TARBEI – KEN (1:46.05)
(SILVER) Bett KIPYEGON – KEN (1:46.15)
(BRONZE) Ben GREENWOOD – SCO (1:50.42)