Kenya’s efforts to retain the boys’ 800m proved a cropper when Japheth Kibiwott won bronze, losing out to Ethiopian athletes who staged a 1-2 sweep at the World Under-18 Championships at Kasarani on Saturday.
Perhaps poor tactics were Kenyan athletes’ main undoing when Kibiwott and Noah Kiprono took off at super speed, crossing the 400m mark at 51.53 seconds.
Melese Nberet and Tolesa Bodena caught up with the Kenyans just after the last bend to glide to victory in World Under-18 lead of 1:47.12 and 1:47.16 respectively.
It was a heartbreak for the close to 50,000 fans who turned up at the 60,000 seater stadium as Kibiwott settled for bronze in a personal best of 1:47.82 as Kiprono came in fifth in 1:50.31.
“We had planned to stay ahead of the pack but it seems the Ethiopians were stronger than us,” said Kibiwott.
Kenya failed to secure any victory on the penultimate day of the championships on Saturday, winning one silver and three bronze medals.
Dominic Samson started the day with the historic bronze medal in the boys’ 10,000m race walk as Mpoke Moitalel went for boys’ 400m hurdles silver.
Then some awful tactics too might have cost Kenya victory in girls’ 1,500m where favourite Edina Jebitok took off early with 600m to go to settle for bronze as Ethiopians Lemlem Hailu and Sindu Girma went for a 1-2 sweep.