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Kenya off on a good start in IAAF U18

George Manang’oi winning the Boys 1500m.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 – On the opening day of the10th edition of the IAAF World U18 Championships being hosted at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani, Team Kenya started on a high with qualification into the final of the Boys 1500m.

Qualifying for the semis are the Boys 100m as well as Boys and Girls 400m.

In the second race of the day, Kenya’s Elijah Okware Mathew wowed the crowd that attended Kasarani Stadium when he clocked a Personal Best of 10.78 in the Boys 100m to automatically qualify for the semis after finishing third.

Running from the outside lane, Mathew’s heat was the slowest of the five with Jamaican Wilson Tyreke showing the prowess his country has in sprints, winning the last heat in 10.60.

Kenya’s Elijah Onkware finished third against Danelson Makhaya

Danelson Mahautiere of Dominican crossed the line second in 10.74 ahead of the Kenyan Mathew who was pleased with his performance.

“I am very excited to have qualified for the semis. Our qualification was tough because I was running against the best like Jamaican and South Africa. I am looking forward to run a good race later in the day,” Mathew said.

Up next was the Boys 1500m and indeed the two Kenyan representatives did not disappoint with Dominic Kipkemboi running a fantastic race to automatically sail through in a fastest time of 3:48.93.

Kipkemboi, 16-year-old, led from start to finish but limped towards the finish line after pulling a hamstring.

“I have a small injury but I will be fine. This was a tough race but I thank God I managed to win. The semis will not be easy since I will be facing my compatriot Manag’oi,” Kipkemboi stated.

Kipkemboi ran a split of 55.73 at 400m, 1:55.79 at 800m and 1:02.38 at 1200 to indicate how fast the race was.

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Algerian Qussama Cherrad finished second in 3:48.93 ahead of Ethiopian Abebe Dessassa who was third in 3:49.58 while Ugandan Hosea Kiplagat was the last qualifier in fourth place in a time of 3:56.44.

The second Heat saw the younger brother of 1500m World Silver medallist Elijah Manang’oi, George Meitamei dominate to win in 3:55:00.

“I am always looking to follow in the footsteps of my brother Elijah, he always inspires me. The race was good and I am looking forward to the final, I am ready to take on Kipkemboi,” Meitamei stated.

The Boys 1500m final will be held on Friday with the showdown expected to be between the two Kenyans who battled each other at the Kenyan Trials on June 14.

Mary Moraa competing at IAAF U18 100m.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

In the Girls 400m, Mary Moraa stormed to victory despite delaying off the blocks in lane three to automatically qualify in a Personal Best of 54.07 ahead of Brazilian Giovana Rosalia Dos Santos who also clocked a Personal Best of 54.29 while Serbian Katarina Sekulic was third in 54.86.

“I was fearing the race when I first entered the Stadium, but after the bend I gained the confidence to go all the way and win. I am confident now and I don’t fear the Jamaicans,” Moraa said.

Kenya will be looking forward to strike her first gold tonight in the Girls 3000m.

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