The National Youth team returns to the country after retaining the second position in the World Ranking with a haul of 13 medals when the 9th IAAF World Youth Championships came to an end at Pasqual Querrero Stadium in Cali, Columbia on Sunday.
During the five-day contest, the squad of 15 boys and 10 girls dominated the middle distant events against Africa rival Ethiopia t bring home 5 Gold 4 Silver and 4 Bronze and finished second overall behind superior United States who kept the lead with a total of 19 medals.
Africa champions Kumari Taki, Willy Tarbei, Vincent Kipyego, Richard Kimuyang and Sandra Chebet lived up to their calling when they set the tunes for the national anthem as the country moved the medal tally upward from the previous 11 put in the closet in Donetsk in 2013.
Taki, the 1,500metres sapling, ignited the packed stadium with exhilarating front-running surge that propelled him to set a new championship record of 3:36.38 to stretch the tradition set by Cornelius Chirchir during the inaugural in Poland in 1999.
Team mate Lawi Kosgei managed a Bronze in 3:41.3 after Assefa Mulugeta of Ethiopia gained on him running a Personal Best of 3:41.10 during the 3rd day of the championship on Friday.
In 800metresfinal for boys, Kenyan pair of Willy Tarbei and Kipyego Bett went on the offensive and claimed the first two precious Silverware to cover their sisters Betty Chepkemoi and Mary Kalakye who sagged in before the final call up.
Tarbei, also the national monarch over the distant, took the coveted honours after a knee-jerking pace that saw him chalk 1:45.58 and marked the country’s first ever 1-2 finish after compatriot, Kipyego Bett, the Africa authority in 800metres, ascended the podium second in 1:45.86. Luis Fernado claimed the Bronze after returning 1:48.6.
The third gold in the championship for Kenya was bagged in the traditional Kenyan domain where Vincent Kipyego fought tooth and nail to win the 2,000metres steeplechase.
The champion clocked 5:27.58 with team mate Geoffrey Rotich bringing Bronze in 5:30.16. Silver went to Commonwealth Games champion Wogene Sebsibe of Ethiopia who timed 5:29.41
Richard Kimuyan dethroned Africa champion Davis Kiplagat to win the fourth gold medal in the 3,000metres with Kiplagat getting satisfaction with Silver. Kimuyan won in 7:54.45 while Kiplagat timed 7:54.52
Celephine Chepteek Chepsol was the surprise winner and the only girl to seal the gold medal tally after she edged out Africa queen Sandrafelis Chebet in the 2,000metres. Sandra won silver after the duo took command in the traditional 1-2 finish for Kenya.
Despite the spirited campaign to venture into other events where medals have not been forthcoming, the team’s efforts were trashed in the sprints and hurdles where the candidates failed to advance to the finals. The team is expected back in the country on Wednesday evening.
Kenya finished behind United Sates of America who collected 19 medals (8 Gold, 5 silver and 6 Bronze) and ahead of Japan, who occupied the third slot with 5 medals (3 gold, 1, silver and 1 bronze) and Ethiopia and South Africa who managed 8 medals (2 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze) and 5 medals (2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze) respectively.
Willy Tarbei -800metres
Kumari Taki – 1,500metres
Vincent Kipyego – 2,000metres steeplechase
Richard Kumuyan- 3,000metres
Celephine Chepsol – 2,000metres steeplechase.
Emily Chebet – 3,000metres
Kipyego Bett- 800metres
Davis Kiplagat- 3,000metres
Sandrafelis Chebet – 2,000metres steeplechase
Sheila Chelangat – 3,000metres
Lawi Kosgei – 1,500metres
Joyline Cherotich – 1,500metres
Geoffrey Rotich – 2,000metres Steeplechase.