2 July 2017

Africa: Cherotich Claims Double As Lekuta Reigns in Africa Under-20 Championships

Photo: Chris Omollo/The Nation
Joyline Cherotich

World Under-18 1,500m bronze medallist Joyline Cherotich completed a double when she won the women's 1,500m, while Solomon Lekuta crushed the Ethiopian hurdle for men's 800m victory as the Africa Under-20 Championships ended on Sunday in Tlemcen, Algeria.

Lekuta crossed the finishing lane in 1 minute and 48.04 seconds to triumph, beating Ethiopians Taddesse Lemi and Adisu Girma in 1:48.76 and 1:49.15 respectively.

Moments later, Cherotich, who had won the 3,000m gold, also brushed aside the Ethiopian challenge of Fantu Worku and Almaz Samuel to win in 4:30.57. Worku came in for silver in 4:30.76 while Samuel grabbed bronze in 4:31.59.

On Saturday, World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase silver medallist Sandra Chebet bolstered Kenya's medal tally by claiming her second silver medal at the championships in women's 5,000m.

Chebet, who had won silver in 3,000m on Friday, timed 15:41.64, losing the battle to Ethiopian Meskerem Mamo in 15:37.13. The duo stunned World Under-20 5,000m champion Kalkidan Fentie from Ethiopia to bronze in 15:49.63.

The performance by Cherotich, Lekuta and Chebet brought Kenya's tally to four gold, four silver and one bronze medals. The other gold medal came from Nicholas Kipkorir, who won men's 10,000m on Friday.

Josephine Chelangat and Boaz Kiprugut won silver medals in 800m and 1,500m while Nickson Kiplagat got bronze in men's 3,000m steeplechase.

Moffat Ngari had a lukewarm run in the men's 200m final, where he settled eighth in 21.62 in a race won by South African Clarence Munyai in Championship Record time of 20.22.

Zimbabweans Kundai Maguranyanga and Tinotenda Matiyenga settled for silver and bronze in 21.11 and 21.14 respectively.

Kenya expected another medal from the men's 5,000m, where Kipkorir was due for a double after his exploits in the 10,000m.

Athletics Kenya Youth committee chairman Barnaba Korir hailed the youngsters for their performance but warned against Ethiopia's rise.

"It's a credible show noting that we only took a team of eight athletes instead of 18 owing to lack of funds," said Korir, who noted that Ethiopia had a full team and won in unfamiliar races like in 400m where thy won both men and women's titles.

Ethiopia also won in men's race walk besides sweeping a 1-2 feat in both men and women's steeplechase.

"We must do something to diversify in other fields otherwise we shall continue to lag behind," warned Korir adding that athletics development should not be left to AK alone hence the government must chip in with funding boost.


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