Kenya tops medal standings to win Africa Athletics Under-20 crown

Edward Zakayo (second right, Jacob Rop (centre) and Reuben Pogisho (second left) pose for photos with with Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed (right) and Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei (left) after sweeping all the podium places in the men's Under-20 5000m at the Africa Under-20 and Under-18 Championships in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on April 20, 2019. PHOTOI | COURTESY |

Kenya collected a total of 46 medals from the two championships; 19 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze winning the Under-20 category and finishing second behind South Africa in Under-18 as the Africa Championships ended Saturday night at Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium’, Abidjan, Cote d’Ívoire.

The country not only topped the medal standings in the Under-20 Championships, but also in men and women with 27 medals; 13 gold, nine silver and five bronze.

Kenya beat South Africa to second with 25 medals; nine gold, 13 silver and three bronze. Nigeria were second in Under-20 with 17 medals; seven gold, once silver and nine bronze followed by Ethiopia with 26 medals; six gold, eight silver and 12 bronze.

However, South Africa got to top the medal standings in Under-18 and also in both boys’ and girls’ with a haul 32 medals, 18 gold, seven silver and seven bronze.

Kenya emerged second with 17 medals; six gold, six silver and five bronze followed by Nigeria with 14 medals five gold, four silver and five bronze.

World Under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo and World Under-18 race walk bronze medallist Dominic Ndigiti wrapped up the Africa Unbder-20 and Under-18 athletics championships in style for Kenya with victories.

Kenya's Jackline Wambui (right) and Lydia Jeruto celebrate after claiming a 1-2 finish in women's Under-20 800m final at the Africa Under-20 and Under-18 Championships in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on April 20, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY |

Also sweeping to victories were World Under-20 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet, World Under-18 800m champion Jackline Wambui and World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Leonard Bett.

Then the icing on the cake perhaps were the rare victories by Collins Kipkorir, who went for boys’ Under-18 triple jump top honours medal with Ita Nao going for men’s Under-20 javelin glory.

What with Kipng’etich Ngéno snatching the men’s Under-20 800m victory on the final day that Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed also witnessed Kenya’s team of Allan Kipyego, George Manangoi, David Sanayek and James Mucheru being crowned men’s Under-20 4x400m relay kings.

Zakayo, who is also the 2017 World Under-18 5,000m silver medallist, clocked 13 minutes and 13.06 seconds to claim victory in men’s 5,000 m of the Under-20 category.

Zakayo led compatriot Jacob Rop and Rueben Pogisho to sweep all the podium places in 13:14.44 and 13:43.46 respectively.

Chebet, who was fresh from winning the World Cross Country women’s Under-20 title in Aarhus, Denmark, cracked 16:02.6 for women’s 5,000m glory, beating compatriot Dolvin Omare to silver medal in 16:04.7.

Ndigiti, who finished seventh in 10,000m race walk at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships, glided to victory in 43:27.33 in men’s Under-20 10,000m race walk.

Wambui executed her tactics well to claim women’s Under-20 800m gold in 2:04:05 as compatriot Lydia Jeruto went for bronze in 2:07.8 in what was a replica of the 2017 Nairobi World Under-18.

Ng’eno went for men’s top honours in 800m of the Under-20 category, clocking1:45.25 and in the process guided fellow countryman Joseph Rotiken to a 1-2 feat. Rotiken timed 1:46.3.

It was also a 1-2 finish for Kenya in men’s 3,000m steeplechase with Bett, who is fresh from finishing fourth in Under-20 at the World Cross Country, winning in 8:25.6 with Brian Kipkosgei settling for silver in 8:37.7.

Nao hauled 75.26m to win men’s Under-20 javelin title while Kipkorir’s sixth and final jump of 14.82m delivered victory in boys’Under-18 triple jump, beating Hire Omamutuyou from Burundi in 14:77 as South Africa Jason Tito claimed bronze in 14:57.

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