BYDGOSZCZ, Poland, July 19- Rodgers Kwemoi handed Kenya first gold at the opening day of the 2016 IAAF U20 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, after the youngster shed five seconds off the championship record to win the men’s 10,000m gold at Zawisza Stadium on Tuesday.
Kwemoi, crossed the line in 27:25.23 to set a new championship record, smashing the 27:30.85 time set by compatriot Josephat Bett in 2008 at the same city.
Eritrean Aaron Kifle attempted in futility to push Kwemoi off the lead in the final bend, but he could only finish second in 27:26.20, a new personal best for himself and a national under-20 record for the East African country.
Fifteen-year-old Jacob Kiplimo failed in his bid to ensure the junior title remains in Uganda after Joshua Kiprui won the 2014 edition Eugene, Oregon, USA after he finished third in a personal best of 27:26.28.
Another Kenyan, Ronald Kiprotich Kirui fell off the pace with 10 laps to go allowing the high speed chase to narrow down between the top three to finished fifth in 28:13.43, also setting a personal best just to show how speedy the race was.
In blistering pace, the race started to shape out just after five laps, with a definite pack of seven leaders emerging, including the two Kenyans, two Ugandans and a Rwandese.
Kwemoi injected pace with 16-laps to go pushing the race to13:48:18 at the halfway mark, giving all indications they were within championship record time.
With five laps to go, it was clear the medals would be between Kwemoi, Kifle and Kiplimo, but it was now a matter of each fighting for their own nation.
Ugandan Kiplimo who had all along sat back at third pushed up for the first time, taking over the leadership of the race.
But Kwemoi picked up his tempo with two laps to go and at the bell went full throttle, pulling away Kifle with him, as the Eritrean attempted to keep up with the pace.
At the final bend, Kwemoi dug deeper into his energy reserves, powering home to the gold medal, showing a clear pair of heels to Kifle.
Earlier on, Maureen Nyatichi ran the fastest qualifying time to progress to the final of the women’s 400m, crossing the line in 53.04 in Heat 1. Compatriot Jane Njoki Theuri failed to make it into the semis after finishing a disappointing seventh in Heat 5, timing 57:13.
Kenya will have a chance of adding more medals to her count on Wednesday evening with the final of the 3000m with Sheila Chelangat and Sandrafelis Chebet leading the hunt.
Geoffrey Kiprotich and Edwin Ngeeti will be in action in the men’s 400m heats, while in the women’s 800m semis, Josephine Chelagat and Betty Sigei will be seeking tickets to the finals. Maureen Nyatichi will also be in action in the women’s 800m semi.
Kenya were the second best team in the last edition in Eugene after picking a total of 16 medals and will be looking to eclipse that count this time round.