This is day 2, session 2 report, by Justin Lagat on the WU20 Nairobi 2021 Championships. Justin is there for every minute, rain or shine. He is also thinking that he may have a future as a meteorologist!
If there is one thing I have learned, and which may help me in becoming a weather forecaster, it is that when the sun is a little bit too warm, it attracts rain. The glorious sunny morning we just had in the morning quickly turned into a rainy afternoon today at the Kasarani Stadium forcing the officials to temporarily suspend the competition for a while.
The afternoon session then resumed with two heats of the men’s 1500m. Spectators are not allowed in the stadium, but most of the volunteers, coaches, and other essential service providers here mostly come from within. That is why there was a lot of cheering when the two Kenyan runners in this event won their respective heats. Vincent Keter won the first heat in 3:42.35. Kamar Etyang who had missed going to the Tokyo Olympics despite finishing second at the Kenyan trials easily won the second heat in 3:44.75.
Then there was the thrilling men’s 5000m final in which Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku was trying to come back for a second gold medal from the championships after winning the 3000m title the previous day, but Kenya’s Benson Kiplangat could not let him. With 5 laps to go, there were two Kenyans and two Ethiopians in a leading pack that was way ahead of the rest of the field. Worku took to the front with about 600m to go as the other Ethiopian began to fade and the two Kenyans ran just behind him. At the backstretch, Kiplangat overtook him and hanged on to win the gold medal in a new personal best time of 13:20.37, Worku finished 2nd in 13:20.65, and Levy Kibet came in for the bronze medal in 13:26.01.
But the best moment for the home crowd was yet to come. In the women’s 3000m final, the two Kenyans here took the top two positions after an exciting last lap in which four runners were all still in contention at the bell. They were Uganda’s Priscah Chesang, Ethiopia’s Melknat Wudu, Zenah Yego, and Muthoni Gateri. With about 150m to go, Gateri broke away as the rest followed in a single file. She won the race in 8:57.78 ahead of Yego in 8:59.59 and Wudu in 9:00.12.
The climax of the day came in the men and women 100m finals. Tina Clayton of Jamaica won the women’s title in a new personal best time of 11.09, beating the other pre-race favorite; Beatrice Masilingi into the second position. Botswana’s Ltsile Tebogo won the men’s race in 10.19.