IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA
Kenya impressed on the first day of the athletics programme topping the medal standings on day seven of the East Africa Secondary Schools Games here at the Sheikh Abeid Memorial Stadium.
Team Kenya bagged a total of 15 medals - eight gold, four silver and three bronze. Uganda followed closely in second place with 12 medals comprising of one gold, five silver and six bronze. Hosts Tanzania were placed third with two medals, a gold and a bronze. Rwanda are fourth with a bronze, while Zanzibar did not pick any medals on day one.
Solomon Boit started the gold harvest for Kenya in the boys' 10,000m, coming home in a time of 29:29.7.
The 19-year-old Form Four student at Sochoi Secondary School said the win will inspire him to do well in future events.
“I want to be perfect in this race and this win shows I can do it. It was a comfortable race and my tactic of breaking in the last three laps helped me a lot," said Boit.
Kenya's other representative Noah Kimutai settled for fourth with a time of 32:24.9.
Sombi Matayo of Tanzania won silver in 30:01.3, as Ugandan Andrew Kwemoi bagged bronze after timing 30:46.7.
The country's second gold came in the boys' 1,500m as Cornelius Kemboi led Felix Korir in a Kenyan 1-2 finish.
Kemboi, who is the national champion, recorded a time of 3:52.8 as compatriot Korir came second with a time of 3:56.0. Rwandese Ingabire Victoire (4:02.4) bagged the bronze medal.
In the girls' 1,500m race, Barbara Ajupo of Uganda spoilt a clean sweep for Kenya as she bagged the silver returning home in 4:42.8 as Janeth Chepkoech (4:34.3) and Violah Chepkirui (4:43.7) bagged gold and bronze respectively for Kenya.
In the girls' 5,000m race, Kenya's Feliciana Kanda ran a tactical race to win gold in 17:13.6 as Joy Cheptoyek (17:59.5) bagged silver for Uganda and Kenya's Betty Chelagat (18:18.8) completed the podium places.
Kenya also won gold and silver in girls' Javelin thanks to Dorothy Chepng'etich who had a final throw of 45.95m. Irene Jepkemboi (43.90) took silver, while Bibiana Langom (41.87) of Uganda won bronze.
The athletics programme ends on Friday at the same venue.
Elsewhere, Kenya is assured of gold in girls’ volleyball and handball after triumphing in the semi-finals on Thursday to make the finals a domestic affair.
Girls’ volleyball defending champions Kwanthanze Secondary School outclassed compatriots Soweto Academy to set a final date with Cheptil Girls High School, who beat St Alloys of Rwanda in their last four clash.
Newcomers St Joseph’s Kirandich Secondary School laboured to a 22-20 victory over Rwanda’s ES Kiziguro in extra-time, while 2016 East Africa champions Moi Girls Kamusinga dismissed perennial rivals Mbogo High School from Uganda 29-20 in the other girls' handball semi-final match.
Boys' handball champions Kimilili Secondary School will face Rwanda's Adegi Secondary School in the final.
Kwanthanze put up a solid display to win in straight sets (25-16, 27-25 and 25-12) and remain on course for a fifth title.
"Reaching another final is impressive and we want to complete the job on style by winning the title for three straight years," said Kwanthanze coach Justin Kigwari.
Cheptil, on the other hand were forced to work harder for a place in the final as the Rwandese stretched them to the fourth set. Cheptil, who are chasing their maiden regional gong, won 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-10, 25-12).
Kenya will not have a team in the boys' final after Mogonga PAG Secondary School lost in the semis to Uganda's Stahiza.