NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12- Kenya’s first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast came though unexpected hands, hitherto unknown Wycliffe Kinyamal who upset defending champion Nijel Amos of Botswana to the 800m title.
In the absence of world record holder David Rudisha, the 21-year old gave a spirited push to run down Amos in the final 300m and ensured he kept the gas steaming till the finishing line despite a late surge from England’s Kyle Langford.
Kinyamal went on to stop the clock at 1:45.11 while Langford came in a close second after timing a personal best of 1:45.16. Kenya’s other representative Jonathan Kitilit finished sixth.
Amos, seeking to be the first man to win back-to-back Commonwealth titles over the two lap race, took control of the tempo from the gun with Kinyamal and Kitilit keeping in his shadow, waiting for the opportune time to strike.
At the bell, Kinyamal – placed second during the Commonwealth Games trials in Nairobi in February, showed his killer instinct, following Amos’ footsteps.
With 300m to go, the Kenyan bolted upfront, leaving Amos in his wake as the Botswana national champion tried but in vain to catch up with the youngster’s legs.
Kitilit followed him through and it looked to be heading to a Kenyan 1-2 finish.
However, with Kinyamal steaming away, Kitilit faded off in the background with Langford and Australia’s Luke Mathews powering away from him.
Mathews kept the tempo to come in home for bronze in a season’s best time of 1:45.60.
Defending champion Amos finished last after going out of gas, timing 1:48.45.