Kenyan athletes hauled four medals; three gold and a silver on the penultimate day of athletics' action on Monday night at the ongoing the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Kenya’s Jackson Muema edged out Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi in the boys’ cross country race, while in the girls’ event, Edinah Jebitok of Kenya settled for silver, losing to Uganda’s Sarah Chelangat.
The morning 4km races represented the second stage of the 1,500m, 3,000m and 2,000m steeplechase, with combined rankings determining the individual medallists.
Muema’s one-second stage win over Aregawi was crucial. Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo came home third, reversing the top three from the track 3,000m last week.
It left the three athletes finished tied on four points, meaning the cross country finishes decided the medals. Muema would then clinch the gold ahead of Aregawi, as Chelimo took bronze.
It was the same story for deciding the men's 1,500m medallists, as once again the top three were reversed to leave a three-way, four-point tie.
But the gold was Jean de Dieu Butoyi's, the Burundian the first home of the metric milers to move up from third after last week’s track race. Morocco's Anass Essayi retained his silver medal position, while Ethiopia's Melese Nberet ended with the bronze after a gallant seventh-place overall finish.
Chelangat’s win confirmed the Ugandan as the gold medallist for the women’s 3000m, the first stage of which she had won on the track last Thursday.
There was no movement in the medal places behind her, either, as Kenya’s Mercy Chepkorir came home fourth overall and second of the 3,000m runners for silver, while Ethiopia’s Aberash Minsewo crossed sixth, third in her discipline, to wrap up bronze.
While Jebitok couldn’t hold on for the cross country win, her bold running was rewarded with that second-place finish, and meant the Kenyan clinched the 1,500m gold after running fastest on the track last Friday.
Australia’s Jaylah Hancock-Cameron, second on the track, was the fourth home of the athletes in her event. It meant she retained her silver medal position by a single point ahead of Lemlem Hailu, who tied on points with Japan's Yuki Kanemitsu, but clinched bronze thanks to finishing second of the 1500m runners.
There was no change in the top three in the women’s steeplechase standings, as Fancy Cherono of Kenya came through third overall for her second stage win to secure the gold.
Ethiopia’s Mekides Abebe was 11th overall, third of the steeplechasers, to get silver; Sri Lanka’s Parami Wasanthi Maristela’s carried her bronze medal position through to the finish, finishing fourth in her event and 17th overall on the turf.
Abraham Sime also claimed his second stage win, coming home ninth overall, to clinch the men’s steeplechase gold for Ethiopia.
The medal excitement in that event took place mid-pack, as France’s Baptiste Guyon toiled fruitfully, finishing 11th overall to come home as the second placed steeplechaser, enough to move from sixth to earn silver.
Fifth place track man Abel Yamane of Eritrea was the third steeplechaser through, as he took bronze.