Rising stars Jackline Wambui and Lydia Lagat led a Kenyan 1-2 in the girls’ 800m as curtains came down on the World Under-18 Championships yesterday at Moi, Kasarani.
Unlike their boys’ counterparts who were outwitted by the Ethiopians on Saturday night, Wambui and Lagat got their tactics right and led from the front as Wambui won gold in 2:01.40 with Lagat settling for silver in 2:02.06
Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha finished a distant third in 2:06.32 with Milena Korbut fourth in 2:08.45 and Morocco’s Chamae Ismaili fifth in 2:09.78.
Backed up by the crowd of over 55,000 spectators, Wambui and Lagat strode to the front at the 300m mark and never looked back with Meshesha in close pursuit. At the bell, it was the three athletes at the front with Israel Sivan Auerbach trying to keep chase. Wambui and Lagat unleashed a devastating kick with 200m to go as Meshesa seemed to back pedal after failing to keep pace.
Meanwhile, Edward Zakayo and Stanley Waithaka settled for silver and bronze respectively in the boys 3,000m.
Selemon Barega of Ethiopia ran a smart race, controlling the pace from the front to bag Ethiopia’s fourth gold as he clocked 7:47.16. Zakayo came home second in 7:49.17 with Waithaka settling for bronze in 7:50.64. Ethiopia’s Milkesa Mengesha (7:55.29) and Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo (8:17.57) completed the top five places.
The race started tentatively with Mengisha surging to the front at the start of the second lap. Barega, Zakayo and Waithaka remained in toe and were joined by Oscar Chelimo of Uganda as five athletes broke away from the rest of the pack at the start of the fourth lap.
Mengesha then paved way for Zakayo to take the lead momentarily, only for Berega to seize the lead at the end of the fifth lap.
Uganda’s Chelimo faded away with the race now down to a Kenya vs Ethiopia battle with two laps to go. In the final lap Zakayo tried to unsettle Barega amid cheers from the packed crowd but the Ethiopian kept his cool before unleashing a devastating in the final 100m to win the race.