Nairobi, Kenya, Apr 8- Edward Zakayo and Samuel Gathimba won Kenya’s first medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, clinching bronze in the 20km walk and the 5,000m respectively.
Zakayo, the World Under-18 3,000m silver medalist put up a gallant fight to claim bronze in a race won by Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, the World Championship silver medalist. Zakayo clocked 13:54.06 with Cheptegei winning in 13:50.83.
Canada’s Ahmed Mohammed came in second after pushing Cheptegei in the final 300m of the race, clocking 13:52.78.
Gathimba meanwhile came third in the walk after clocking 1:19:51 with Aussie Dane Bird-Smith claiming victory in a Games Record time of 1:19.34 as England’s Tom Bosworth finished second with a personal best time of 1:19:38.
But was the 5,000m final that brought excitement to the Carrara Stadium track, the finishing turning out to be a hugely contested affair with the race having earlier gunned off to a very slow start.
The athletes stuck together for most of the race up until there were only three laps left when Cheptegei decided to take over the leadership with Ahmed following in his tracks while Zakayo lurked just behind them.
At this point, the other two Kenyans, Nicholas Kipkorir and David Bett had started fading way and the only medal prospect was the 16-year old Zakayo.
He maintained the same momentum to assure himself of the third place spot with Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko trying but in vain to catch up over the last 50m.
Kipkorir finished ninth in 14:19.37 while Bett was 11th in 14:18.80.
Meanwhile Boniface Mweresa advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m after finishing third in his heat clocking 46:32 in a race won by Grenada’s Bralon Taphin.
Collins Omae finished fourth in his heat and missed out on qualification after timing 46.57.
Another Kenyan participating in the 400m Alex Sampao did not start after he aggravated a hamstring tear in training on Friday.