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Kenya had to wait until the fifth and final day of the competition in Donetsk, Ukraine for its first double at the IAAF World Youth Championships as Rosefline Chepngetich and Daisy Jepkemei reigned supreme in the girls’ 2000m Steeplechase and took the gold and silver medals.
Kenya wrapped up comeptition second on the medal table behind leaders Jamaica(six Gold) with 11 medals, four gold,three silver and six bronze.
At 16, Chepngetich held pre-event favourite status having run a World youth leading 6:12 (hand timed) in Nairobi back in June, which suggested that the four-year-old world best of 6:11.83, held by Ethiopia’s Korahubsh Itaa, might be under threat.
Despite being a year younger than most of the rest of the field, Chepngetich showed maturity beyond her years as she mastered the final to perfection.
With three laps to go, Chepngetich and Jepkemei then increased the tempo ever so slightly, going through the first kilometre in 3:08.45 with only Ethiopia’s Weynshet Ansa, Reina and McCormick in close contention.
The pair went stride-for-stride until the final barrier but Chepngetich’s superior kick prevailed and she crossed the line in 6:14.60, well clear of Jepkemei in second with a personal best of 6:15.12. Ansa held on for the bronze medal in 6:30.05.
Championship record for Biwott
Seventeen-year-old Robert Biwott put on an exhibition of front-running prowess, comfortably leading from the gun and extending his lead to 50 metres on his way to a 3:36.77 championship record in the 1500m.
The Kenyan improved the 2013 world youth-leading mark by three seconds, as he finished more than four-and-a-half seconds ahead of silver medallist Tesfu Tewelde of Eritrea who himself registered a 3:42.14 personal best.
Biwott passed the 400m mark in 59.41 before upping the tempo to a 57.54 second-lap split, reaching 800m in 1:56.95 and enjoying a 10-metre advantage over his nearest rivals with two laps to go.
Tewelde meanwhile, overhauled Kenya’s Titus Kipruto Kibiego with 70 metres remaining to take the silver medal, as Kibiego clocked 3:42.97 for bronze.
Kipketer captures 800m gold
Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer was lucky to hang on to the lead in the closing stages of a fascinating 800m final, as the 16-year-old held on for victory after a suicidal first 400m which was quicker than World record pace.
Flying off from the gun to clock an astonishing 48.63 split – which is notably faster than the 49.28 that David Rudisha ran en route to his 1:40.91 World record at the London 2012 Olympics – Kipketer was eventually reeled in with 200m remaining but surprisingly, had enough energy in reserve to hold the lead in the dying yards.
Kipketer won in 1:48.01 to capture Kenya’s fifth title in the 14-year history of this event. Charging through for the silver medal at the end of an impressive fight for gold down the home-straight, Russia’s Konstantin Tolokonnikov clocked a 1:48.29 personal best, with the 17-year-old taking his nation’s first ever medal in this event at the World Youths.
Just as they missed the traditional steeplechase gold ,Kenya again played second fiddle to their rivals Ethiopia grabbed the boys 3000m gold.Yomif Kejelcha won in 7:53.56 ahead of Vedic Kipkoech(7:55.60) and Alexander Munyao(7:56.86) who clinched silver and bronze respectively.