2018 Tampere, Finland Diary: Kenyan takes two gold medals on Day 1 of U20 IAAF World Championships, A view from Kenya


Here's Justin Lagat's column on day 1 for the 2018 IAAF World Championships and the two wins by Kenyan athletes. Justin Lagat provides us a view from Kenya on RunBlogRun.

Of the three gold medals that were on offer on the first day of the IAAF world u20 championships in Tampere, two of them came to Kenya. Kyle Blignaut took the other one to South Africa in the Shot Put field event. There are still five more days of exciting competitions coming up, but the first day has been an exciting one for the Kenyan fans after Ronex Kipruto and Beatrice Chebet won the men 10,000m and the women 5,000m titles respectively.

Within the first two minutes of the men's 10,000m race, the field was already in two groups, as though they were following two different race pace makers. Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo had taken to the lead just after the gun and maintained a steady pace of about 2:50 in every 1,000m split. The leading pack was soon reduced to only eight athletes: Two Uganadans, two Kenyans, two Ethiopians and two Eritreans.

At the 3,600m point, Kiplimo seemed to sense that his team mate was beginning to struggle and slowed down a bit letting the eight athletes who had formed a single file to regroup again. But, it was just for a brief moment before Kenya's Ronex Kipruto took to the front and further disintegrated the leading pack to three athletes. Kiplimo remained sandwiched in between Kipruto and his team mate, Solomon Boit. Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia was just a few meters behind the trio.

With nine laps to go, Kipruto suddenly broke away from the rest of the pack. By the time Kiplimo realized what had happened, Kipruto was about 50m ahead and this build into an interesting climax of the race as it remained unclear whether Kiplimo was actually beginning to close the gap at some point of the race or whether it was already a clear win for Kipruto. In the end, Kipruto crossed the finish line firat in a new championship record on 27:21.08. Kiplimo followed in 27:40.36 while Aregawi overtook Boit to take the bronze medal in a PB of 27:48.41.

The women's 5000m was another exciting race that had five athletes from three different nations in contention for the win with just three laps to go. At the bell, Sarah Chelangat of Uganda began to drop leaving two Ethiopians and two Kenyans at the front. Ejgayehu Taye who had led from around the 2,000m point still kept the lead up to around the last 100m when Beatrice Chebet pulled up parallel to her and the race for the finish line began. Chebet won the race in 15:30.77 followed by Ethiopia's Taye and Girmawit Gebrzihair in 15:30.87 and 15:34.01. All the three medalists registered their personal best times.

Earlier on, the Kenyan pairs of Celliphine Chespol and Mercy Chepkurui, Jackline Wambui and Lydia Lagat and Justus Soget and George Manangoi had all advanced to the next levels in the women 3000m steeplechase, women 800m and men 1500m.

With Justus Soget and George Manangoi in the men's 1500m event, this should be another favorite event for Kenyans to even finish 1-2 on Thursday. It will also be interesting to watch the women's steeplechase final tomorrow with Celliphine Chespol appearing to be the clear favorite to win another gold medal.

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