On the final day of the five-day action at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenyans topped the medal table for the fifth time in history.
Kenya tops the medal tally at the Under 20 Championships
Eight gold, one silver and seven bronze.
First gold medal
On Thursday, August 19 Benson Kiplangat put up a devastating final kick to clinch Kenya’s first gold medal at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships with victory in the men’s 5,000m.
Kiplangat beat Ethiopia’s Tardese Worku in a sprint finish to win gold in a personal best time of 13:20.37 while Levy Kibet came home third for bronze in a new personal best time of 13.26.01.
Later that day, Teresia Muthoni blazed the final 400m on her way to delivering Kenya’s second gold medal leading a Kenyan 1-2 finish in the women’s 3,000m.
The Japan-based athlete timed 8:57.78 to clinch gold while Compatriot Zena Jemutai won silver in a time of 8:59.59. Ethiopia’s Melknat Wudu came third to clinch bronze.
On Friday, August 20 Jackline Chepkoech produced a sterling performance to lead Kenya to 1,3 finish in the 3000m steeplechase final.
Chepkoech lapped nearly 80pc of the field as she stopped the clock in a new Personal Best time of 9:27.28 while Compatriot Faith Cherotich came home third for bronze. Ethiopia’s Zerfe Wondemagegn came home second for silver.
On Saturday, August 21 Heristone Wanyonyi walked his way to gold as he grabbed Kenya’s fourth gold after winning the 10,000m race walk.
Wanyonyi won in a time of 42:10.84 posting his personal best with Amit of India taking silver 42:17.94 Paul Mcgrath of Spain clinched bronze after clocking 43:26.11. Wanyonyi also became the first Kenyan to win a walk medal at any world championship.
Later that day, Vincent Keter clinched Kenya’s fifth gold with victory in the 1500m. Keter blazed the final lap before giving the homestretch a devastating finishing kick, stopping the clock in 3mins, 37.24secs with the Ethiopian duo of Wegene Addisu and Melkeneh Azize clinching silver and bronze.
On Sunday, August 22 Emmanuel Wanyonyi delivered Kenya's sixth gold with victory in men's 800m. Wanyonyi clocked 1:43.76 with compatriot Noah Kibet finishing third in 1:44:88 to bag bronze.
Later that day, Purity Chepkirui gifted Kenya her seventh gold medal after breaking sweat to win the women's 1500m.
Chepkirui was forced to work overtime in the final meters of the race to beat Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia who is fresh from the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
She clocked 4:16.07 while Welteji timed 4:16.39. Winnie Jemutai gave Kenya another bronze medal after finishing third in 4:18.99.
Kenya's eighth and final gold medal came on Sunday afternoon when Amos Serem dazzled with a brilliant finishing kick, blazing the home stretch to clinch the steeplechase title with a time of 8mins, 30.72secs.
Simon Koech came third for bronze in 8mins, 33.15secs with Ethiopia’s Tadese Tekele coming in between for silver.
The Kenyan stars once again displayed a thrilling performance at the global arena that attracted almost 1,000 Under-20 athletes from 110 nations to top the standings with 16 medals (eight gold, one silver and seven bronze medals).
Kenya’s first such feat was in 2000 in Santiago, Chile. They led with 14 medals (seven gold, four silver and three bronze).
In Beijing’s event in 2006, the middle and long distance powerhouse topped the world with 15 medals (six gold, seven silver and two bronze).
In Moncton, Canada 10 years ago, Kenyans staged yet another global topping performance with seven gold, four silver and four bronze medals.