World and Commonwealth 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi and Africa 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech ruled in their respective races to win their maiden IAAF Continental Cup titles in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Sunday.
Running with the composed confidence, Manangoi, who is also the Africa champion, staged a peerless performance, clocking 3 minutes and 40.0 seconds to win for Team Africa.
Europe’s World Indoor 1,500m Marcin Lewandowski of Poland came in second in 3:40.42, as compatriot Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway was placed third in 3:40.80.
Chepkoech, the World record holder, was the runaway victor in the women's 3000m steeplechase with a new Cup record of 9:07.92.
The athlete from Team Africa took the lead from the gun and was never in any danger of being caught.
In Javelin, 2015 World and 2014 Commonwealth champion, Julius Yego finished fourth with a throw of 78.41m in the event won by 2016 Rio Olympics champion Thomas Röhler of Germany in a throw of 87.07.
World Under-20 and Africa 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo was disqualified with the final lap to go in the 3,000m final won by Americas Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo in 7:57.13.
Team America got to lift the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup with 262 points, dethroning Europe off the title with 233 points. Team Asia-Pacific were placed third with 188 followed by Africa with 142.
The previous day, Kenyans Emmanuel Korir (800m), Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) and Winny Chebet (1,500m) won their respective races for Team Africa.
Manangoi ran a relaxed opening half to the race, sitting in behind early leader Drew Hunter of Team Americas, who towed them through 400m in 60.74.
Manangoi moved to the front on the next lap, hitting 800m in 2:03.56, but it was solely to secure prime position for the last lap burn-up.
Manangoi was soon joined by European duo Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Marcin Lewandowski, who clung to Manangoi’s shoulder as the African hit 1200m in 3:01.19.
By then the pace had truly clicked into gear, Manangoi stretching the field out behind him in a line. Around the last turn, Lewandowski came charging at him, but Manangoi had plenty up his sleeve, changing gears once he turned for home and surging away to win in 3:40.00.
“This means a lot to me because it wasn’t only about my own ambitions but to bring as many points as possible to Team Africa,” said Manangoi.
“I knew it would not be easy, but you have to be ready for a very tactical race. It’s the finish to a really great year. I won Commonwealth Games, African Championships and after this win at the Continental Cup I’m going to start preparations for Doha 2019.”
By the time the runners reached the 400m point in the women’s steeplechase race, Chepkoech had built a lead of some 10 metres. The gap only kept on growing as she reached 1000m in a very fast 2:57.91.
“I thought I had to run in the front in order not to be in the elimination,” the winner explained afterwards. “I was tired after the season, but I did not want to set a slow pace and to have to speed up every 400 metres to escape elimination.”