John Mwangi on Thursday night gave Kenya its first victory when he won gold in the boys’ 1,500m on the opening day of the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas.
However, it’s Viola Chemutai, who launched the medal hunt for Kenya with silver in the girls’ 1,500m, losing the battle to Erin Heather from Scotland.
Mwangi cruised to victory in 3 minutes and 48.86 seconds, beating Lay Joshua from England to silver in 3:48.35, as another Briton Luke Gerard, claimed bronze in 3.49.70. Kenya’s Edwin Bett finished fifth in 3:52.68.
Chemutai timed 4:16.73 losing to Heather, who coasted to victory in 4.16.61 in a sprint finish, as Robinson Katrina from New Zealand romped home third for bronze in 4.17.19.
Kenya’s World Under-18 3,000m silver medallist Emmaculate Chepkirui, who is also the World Under20 silver medallist, finished 11th in 4:28.83.
The races were a warm up for Bett and Chepkirui, who are set for the 3,000m finals respective finals on Saturday night.
Mwangi and Chemutai were due to compete in 800m semi-finals on Friday followed by the finals on Saturday night.
Kenya won seven medals; four gold and three silver medals during the last edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games held in Apia, Samoa in 2015.
The boys have a battle at hand in their respective races where Kenya claimed a 1-2 finish in 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m.
It’s after winning boys’ titles at the World Under-18 Championships in Cali, Colombia that Willy Tarbei and Kumari Taki went on to Apia to win boys’ 800m and 1,500m titles, guiding their compatriots Kipyegon Bett and Lawi Kosgei to 1-2 sweep respectively.
Davis Kiplangat and Richard Kimunyan went for a 1-2 finish in boys’ 3,000m final.
Bett would beat Tarbei for gold at the 2016 World Under-20 Championships in Poland, where Taki claimed a double with victory in 1,500m.
Kimunyan went on to win the World Under-20 3,000m crown in Poland.
The team is handled by two times World marathon champion Catherine Ndereba and Erastus Kabugi.
Uhuru rewards team with Sh 7.6million.