Kenya may have reclaimed men’s World marathon title but there was a drop in the team’s overall performance, with the men’s team relinquishing three world titles.
Kenya retained men’s 3,000m steeplechase and 1,500m titles albeit with different athletes – Conseslus Kipruto and Elijah Manangoi – calling the shots, but relinquished the 800m, javelin and 400m hurdles titles.
From a collection of 10 medal; five gold, four silver and one bronze medals in 2015 Beijing to six medals; three gold, one silver and two bronze in 2017 London.
It’s Manangoi, who wrapped up the London World Championships in style for Kenya, leading Timothy Cheruiyot to Kenya’s second 1-2 finish with the defending champion Asbel Kiprop, failing to achieve fourth consecutive title.
It was a good end to the season for Manangoi, what with his younger brother George Manangoi having won the World Under-18 1,500m title in Nairobi.
Kiprop, who has indicated that he could be moving to 5,000m, leaves behind a rich legacy, having mentored Manangoi and Cheruiyot. Its Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui, who started Kenya’s medal hunt with bronze in men’s 10,000m on the first day as 2015 Beijing World 10,000m silver medallist Geoffrey Kamworor faltered in his quest to win gold, finishing sixth as another Kenyan, Bedan Karoki, wound up fourth.
Kamworor is the World Half Marathon and World Cross Country champion.
It was Tanui’s third consecutive bronze medal after similar exploits in 2013 (Moscow) and 2015 (Beijing) World Championships as Karoki failed on his third attempt at securing a medal, having finished sixth in 2013 and fourth in 2015 Beijing.
Briton Mo Farah won a third successive 10,000m world crown as Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei atoned for his failure at the World Cross Country championships, taking silver ahead of Kenya’s Tanui.
The performance saw Kenya miss the title for the 17th year now with Charles Kamathi being the last Kenya to win the title in 2001 Edmonton.
The show is a pointer that Kenya will need to groom more athletes in the 25-lap race if its to reclaim its glory especially with Kamworor and Karoki moving to marathon.
Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui, who was making his debut at the handed Kenya its first victory in men’s marathon on day three. It was Kenya’s fourth world marathon title. Abel Kirui had been the last Kenyan to win the title in 2009 and 2011 before namesake’s exploits.
Conseslus Kipruto followed it up with victory in men’s 3,000m steeplechase, Kenya’s sixth successive title on day five as defending champion Ezekiel Kemboi, who was targeting a record fifth steeplechase crown, finished 11th.
World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett won Kenya bronze medal in men’s 800m as Kenya relinquished the one-lap race title Olympic champion David Rudisha had won in 2011 and 2015.
Poor tactics cost Ferguson Rotich his maiden championships medal as a back injury saw Emmanuel Korir failed to go past the semi-finals.
Kenya might have avoided the embarrassment that was Rio Olympic Games where the country failed to enter an athlete in men’s 5,000m final, but the drought for the world title persisted in London.
Kenya’s lone ranger, Cyrus Rutto who was taking part at the World Championships for the first time, finished 13th as Ethiopian Muktar Edris ended Farah’s reign over the distance. Edris halted Farah’s charge for the fourth consecutive, beating the Briton to gold as Kenyan-born Paul Chelimo of USA claimed bronze.
Kenya’s performance in sprints was not so surprising considering the level of preparations and standards which calls for improvement.
Aron Koech failed to successfully defend his twin brother Nicholas Bett’s World 400m hurdles title, losing in the semi-finals.
It was a great performance from Mark Otieno, who reached the second round in men’s 100m but failed to go past the first round in 200m.