After posting mixed results on day one of the 15th International Association of Athletics Federation World Championship, Team Kenya went on a historic medal harvest mission and emerged as the top nation in the global competitions before the championship ended on Sunday.
The team that represented the country in Beijing, China, posted the best ever results and toppled hitherto sporting super powers after winning a total of 16 medals- 7 Gold, 6 Silver and 3 Bronze with two of the silver ware coming from events dominated by other nations.
Vivian Cheruiyot set the winning tune by winning the first title after reclaiming the women’s 10,000metres on day two and sent inspiration to team mates who went on to subdue the World during the Nine-day competitions held at the 2008 Bird Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing,
This was after Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui opened the medal chart with Silver and Bronze in the men’s 10,000metres after finishing second and third during the first day of the championships.
As if to revenge the unexpected thirst for medal in men’s Marathon, the opening race of the championship, never- aging Ezekiel Kemboi anchored team mates Conseslus Kipruto, Brimin Kipruto and Jairus Birech in a historic 1-2-3-4 finish in the 3,000metres Steeplechase, leaving fans yearning for more medals.
“I used all my experience to coax my team to go for the clean sweep. As the team captain, this was my mission and I ensured we took all the top 4 positions. I am happy it went as planned,” said Kemboi, who has won a historic 4 world titles in an interview with a local radio stations upon arrival from Beijing.
And on day 3, Kenya was again in the global limelight. Little known Nicholas Bett pulled a surprise of the championship when he beat big guns, including Olympians and World leaders, with a hat trick in the
men’s 400metres hurdles, an event previously sidelined by Kenyans.
Not to be left behind, 800metres World record holder David Lekuta Rudisha re-asserted his authority in the two-lap event by reclaiming the title and gave Kenya the fourth gold medal on the score board. This was after recovering from an injury that saw him loose the national title to Furguson Rotich in Nairobi.
Apart from the hurdler Bett, Julius Yego, the self-made Javelin thrower, did not only give the country the 5th gold medal but put the African continent in the World sporting map after remarkable 92.72metres throw, a feat that puts him as the 3rd longest thrower in the history of the Javelin.
Yego, aka Mr You Tub, has proved that determination and sheer hard work can make a difference. He went to the championship buoyed by his previous 91.39metres he achieved during Diamond League in Shanghai in July.
Characteristic with men, the 3,000metres steeplechase is an official event for Kenyans. In the absence of favourate Milka Chemos, Ivyn Jepkemoi Kiyeng set precedent for women after clinching the 6th coveted medal in the water and barrier race.
In subsequent events, Kenya continued occupying the top position in medal chart but it was the unbeatable Asbel Kiprop who sealed the fate of the nation with the determining medal in the 1,500metres before the curtain folded on Sunday.
Aware of the importance of finishing on top of the World, Kiprop came from behind and resorted to bruising kicks that brought Kenyans on their feet as the national flag unfurled to send the country’s exploits on a celebration undertones.
This was the much awaited race and the hovering leggy championship runner won the hearts of many with his characteristic surge with 300metres to go and marshaled countryman Manangoi to a 1-2 seal, easing anxiety of Kenya finishing on the top of the chart.
Apart from Cheruiyot, Kemboi, Bett, Rudisha, Yego, Kiyeng and Kiprop who won gold medals apart, Geoffrey Kamworor, Conseslus Kipruto, Faith Chepng’etich, Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku, Hellah Kiprop and Elijah Motonei Manangoi kept Kenya on the top with Silver medals won in men’s 10,000metres, Steeplechase, 1,500metres, 5,000metred, women marathon and in men’s 1,500metres.
Paul Tanui (men 10,000metres), Brimin Kipruto (men steeplechase) and Eunice Sum are coming with Bronze medal in the historic show that will linger in the memory of all athletics lovers in the country.
Kenya finished the overall winners ahead of Jamaica, United States of America and Great Britain with 16 (7 Gold, 6 Silver, 3 Bronze). Jamaica Manager 12 medals (7 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze) while USA bagged 18 medals (6 Gold, 6 silver and 6 Bronze).
1. Vivian Cheruiyot (10,000metres)
2. Ezekiel Kemboi (3,000metresS/Chase)
3. Nicholas Bett (400metres Hurdles)
4. David Rudisha (800metres)
5. Julius Yego (Javelin)
6. Ivyn Kiyeng (3,000metres S/Chase)
7. Asbel Kiprop (1,500metres).
1. Geoffrey Kamworor (10,000metres)
2. Conseslus Kipruto (3,000metres S/chase)
3. Faith Chepng’etich (1,500metres)
4. Caleb Ndiku (5,000metres)
5. Hellah Kiprop (Marathon)
6. Elijah Manangoi (1,500metres)
1. Paul Tanui (10,000metres)
2. Brimin Kipruto (3,000metres S/Chase)
3. Eunice Sum (800metres).
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