Wanyonyi narrowly misses out on U20 men’s 10km medal

Wanyonyi managed to set a new national record

MUSCAT, OMAN - MARCH 04: Heristone Wanyonyi Wafula of Kenya competes in the Men's 10km Race Walk during the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships - Day One on March 04, 2022 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for World Athletics)

World Under-20 race walk champion Heristone Wanyonyi narrowly missed out on a medal in his debut appearance at the 2022 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships. The 19-year-old finished fourth in the men's Under-20 10km race.

However, despite the loss, Wanyonyi managed to set a new national record at 45 minutes 18 seconds in what is Kenya's first ever participation at such an event.

The athletes not only had to battle each other but also the elements as the temperature rose to a whooping 27C.

The first kilometre was timed at 4:25; but South African Christiaan Bester was caught before the end of the first two-kilometre loop, by Czech national Jaromir Moravekin.

It was a dramatic ending to the much anticipated race. At first it appeared Indian Amit Khatri was on track to claiming his first ever gold medal at the global competition only to be pulled in to the penalty zone and watch his hopes dash.

100 metres to the finish line, eventual winner Chinese national Wang Hongren unleashed a burst of energy to go past compatriot Zeng Yu and Italian Diego Giampaolo.

Wanyonyi, despite a one-minute penalty, finished in fourth place in a Kenyan U20 record of 45:18. Not realising he was on the final lap, he went on to complete another circuit after crossing the finish line.

The next Kenyan on the blocks will be the sole woman at the team, African Games 20km champion Emily Ngii in the women’s 20km at 6pm on Friday.

On Saturday, the seniors will take centre stage with African Games 20km champion Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira and 2017 World Under-18 10,000m bronze medallist Dominic Ndigiti taking part in the men’s 20km.

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