This is day 4, session 1 update by Justin Lagat at the World Athletics U20 in Nairobi. Justin has been in Nairobi all week to cover the meetings for us.
There was an unexpected gold medal for Kenyan in today’s morning session today in the men’s walking race. Talking about commentating on other athletes and then an unexpected one winning a race in my short interview the previous day with Cathal Dennehy, one of the athletics meeting announcers; this predicament would have easily happened in the men’s 10,000m walk final during the morning session on the fourth day of the championships here at the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi.
Kenya’s Heristone Wanyonyi had the slowest personal best time amongst the 24 runners who were taking part in the final, but he would emerge victorious to win a fourth medal for Kenya after battling it out with India’s Amit Khatri in the last laps. Amid the cheers from the small crowd in the stadium, Wanyonyi crossed the finish in a new personal best time of 42:10.84, Amit 42:17.94 for the silver medal, and Paul Mcgrath took the bronze in a personal best of 42:26.11.
Perhaps the announcer would not have erred in the women’s final of the 10,000m walk given the credentials of Mexico’s Sofia Rodriquez. The runner-up at the youth Olympics in 2018 and North/Central American and Caribbean 5000m youth champion showed her class in a solo walk overlapping everyone else on track to win the gold medal in 46:23.01.The others still had a lap or more to go! Maele Bire-Heslouis of France took the silver medal in 47:43.87 and Eliska Matrinkova won the bronze medal in 47:46.28.
Two exciting men’s relays, the 4 x 400m and the 4 x 100m completed an exciting morning session. Nigeria won the first heat of the 4 x 400m in 3:06.70 while Kenya took the second one in 3:05.77.
With Nigeria and Jamaica in heat 1 of the 4 x 100m relays, it was expected that it would be the fastest heat. But, perhaps no one would have expected Poland to win it in a new U20 area record of 38.93. There was a Red card for Botswana and a win for South Africa also in a new area record of 39:23 in heat 2.