Kenya on Thursday bagged two medals as the 12th Africa Junior Athletics Championships got underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Abraham Kibiwott, who won the inaugural Africa Youth Championships 2000m steeplechase gold in Warri, Nigeria in 2013, relegated Ethiopians Sidamo Wogene Sebisibe (8:51.57) and Hailmaram Hamare Tegegn (9:01.58) to silver and bronze respectively.
Kibiwott clocked 8:47.43 which is 26 seconds shy of Raymond Yator’s 8:19.84 championship record set in 1999 in Tunis.
“I saved my best for last and it worked spectacularly well. The Ethiopians were on my neck but I pushed hard to the tape. I am glad for the win,” Kibiwott said.
Vincent Kipyegon Ruto, second at the national trials, was fourth in 9.10.26 while Abdala Yousif of Sudan (9:37.69) and Djibouti’s Ismail Ibrahim Mohamed (9:49.38) came fifth and sixth in that order.
The hosts once again upstaged Kenyans in the women’s 3000m after claiming gold in front of a cheering home crowd. Ethiopian runners won the race in the last two editions in Botswana (2011) and Mauritius (2013).
Medisa Beriso clocked 9:31.37 to claim gold while Shuru Bulo Galchu (9:34.48) settled for silver. Kenya’s Sandra Felis Chebet, who struggled to keep up with the Ethiopians, won bronze in 9.38.60.
At the 2013 Championships in Mauritius, Haftamnesh Tesfay Haylu won gold, Kenyan’s Sheila Jepngetich (silver) while Ethiopia’s Roman Giday Berhe claimed bronze.
Youth Olympic Games and Africa Youth 1500m champion Gilbert Kwemoi eased to the finals of the metric mile event after clocking 3:48.37, while the Ethiopian duo of Demoz Bekele Ayele (3:48.12) and Abdiwaiss Mouhyanin (3:51.90) came second and third respectively.
Anthony Kiptoo also qualified for 1500m final despite finishing sixth in a personal best of 3:59.74.
Kenya will have no representative in the men’s 100m final after Stanley Kieti Mutunga finished 17th overall 11.31s.
Alexander Sampao made it to the 400m final after clocking 47.03s where Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Hailu Bali (46.54), Botwana’s Karobo Banda (46.74) and Adekunle Fasasi of Nigeria (47.02) are the fastest in the start list.
Haruna Kibet Tanui and Stephen Kipkoech qualified for the men’s 400m hurdles final while Davis Kiplangat and Edwin Kiprotich will be the country’s flag bearers in the 10000m showdown.