4 July 2017

Kenya Winds Up Fourth Overall in Algeria

Team Kenya finished fourth with 10 medals (four gold, four silver and two bronze) as Africa Under-20 Championships ended on Sunday in Tlemcen, Algeria.

It's the World Under-18 1,500m bronze medallist Joyline Cherotich and Solomon Lekuta, who wrapped up the junior competition in style with victories in 1,500m and 800m respectively as Nicholas Kipkorir, who had won men's 10,000m claimed bronze in 5,000m.

Lekuta crushed the Ethiopian hurdle in men's 800m final, crossing the finishing lane in 1 minute and 48.04 seconds. Ethiopians Taddesse Lemi and Adisu Girma fell to Lekuta's mighty kick to settled for silver and bronze in 1:48.76 and 1:49.15 respectively.

Moments later, Cherotich, who had won the 3,000m gold, went for a double when she 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.


Ethiopia topped the medal standings after the four days championships with 38 medals; 13 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze followed by South Africa 12-4-1 and Algeria 4-8-8.

There was no major change with only a difference of a silver and bronze medals from the previous 2015 Africa Under-20 Championships held in Addis Ababa where Kenya got four gold, five silver and three bronze medals.

On Saturday day, World Under18 2,000m steeplechase silver medallist Sandra Chebet bolstered Kenya's medal tally when claimed her second silver medal at the championships in women's 5,000m.

Chebet, who had on 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 men's 200m final where he settled eighth 21.62 in a race won by South African Clarence Munyai in a Championship Record time of 20.22. Zimbabweans Kundai Maguranyanga and Tinotenda Matiyenga settled for silver and bronze in 21.11 and 21.14 respectively.

Athletics Kenya youth committee chairman Barnaba Korir hailed the youngsters for their performance but warned against Ethiopia's rise. "It's an incredible show because we only took a team of eight athletes instead of 18 owing to lack of funds," said Korir, adding that Ethiopia had a full team.

Ethiopia won in men's race walk besides sweeping in 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.


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