Tactics were at full play as Kenya’s 4x400 men’s relay team won gold after seeing off the stiff challenge of fancied Botswana as the athletics programme concluded on Thursday night at the Unity Stadium, Kintele.
The quartet of Alex Sampao, Boniface Mweresa, Raymond Kibet and Kiprono Koskei showed the Botswana a clean pair of heels to cross the line first in 3:00.34 minutes.
Botswana settled for silver in 3:00.95 with Algeria third in 3:03.70.
In a classic cut and mouse game, Kenya and Botswana kept their line ups in this much awaited clash secret as they played the psychological card with each other.
POOR LINE UP
Kenya had closely beaten Botswana in the heats.
Botswana, who had a star-studded line up that included 400m sensation Isaac Makwala and the country’s highly respected athlete Nijel Amos, felt they had lost to Kenya in the heats due to a poor line up.
The line up had Makwala starting and Nijel running anchor. They reversed the start order for the final.
Kenya did likewise. This worked magic as Kibet, who had an improved performance in the final, brought in the baton in second place to Sampao.
DEFENDING GOLD MEDAL
Chasing Sampao tracked Amos well before handing to Koskei, who did his magic to overtake Leanane Maotoanong and set by anchor Mweresa for the home run.
Botswana’s Makwala, chase as he could not overhaul the speeding Mweresa as Kenya successfully defended the gold they won in Maputo four years ago.
Kenyas 4 x400m women’s relay team of Helen Syombua, Annet Mwanzi, Winnie Chebet and Maureen Nyatichi, which was hurriedly assembled in Brazzaville won the bronze in 3:35.91 minutes behind winners Nigeria, who clocked 3:27.12 while Botswana settled for silver in 3:32.84.