NAIROBI (July 15) – Moitalel Mpoke Naadokila gave Kenya a silver medal in the boy’s 400m hurdles on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Under 18 Championships at a packed Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on Saturday.
Naadokila clocked 52.06 seconds which is his personal best, behind Zazini Sokwakhana of South Africa who won in 49.27 seconds. Baptiste Christophe of France took bronze in 52.21 seconds.
“I am excited to win this silver medal and more so posting my personal best. I will continue to work hard because this has motivated me. The fans in the stadium today made me push extra hard in the last metres. It was a magical moment. Thank you Kenyans,” he said.
Edina Jebitok took bronze in the girls’ 1,500m after she let the Ethiopian duo of Lemlem Hailu and Sindu Girma overtake her with 200m to go. Hailu won the race in 4:20.80 with Girma second in 4:22.14. Jebitok crossed the line in 4:23.16 while her compatriot Rachel Nzangi ended fourth in 4:24.70.
The last race of the evening, the boys 800m was also disappointing for Kenyans, who led from start only to see Ethiopians overtake them with less than 50 meres to finish.
Japheth Kibiwott Toroitich buckled under pressure and finished third (1:47.82) behind Melese Nberet (1:47.12) and Tolesa Bodena (1:47.16). Noah Kiprono ended up in fifth place in 1:50.31 behind Juan Diego Castro of Costa Rica.
With 24 hours to the end of the championships, Kenya were in sixth position on the medal table, which provoked anger among athletics fans who thronged the 60,000-seater stadium.
Dominic Samson Ndigiti gave Kenya a bronze in the boys’ 10,000m walk with a time of 41:25.78 behind the winner from China, Yao Zhang (41:12.01) and Salavat Ilkaev (Authorised Neutral Athlete) who took silver in 41:24.17.
“I used a lot of energy since I lacked a teammate to pace for me. That made me slow down in my last lap because I could not sprint any more. I am happy to deliver Kenya a medal in such a category,” said Ndigiti.
In girls’ 5,000m walk, the top Kenyan was Lenah Nanjala, who finished 14th in 25:23.97. The event was won by Glenda Morejon of Ecuador in 22:32.30.
After winning 400m silver on Friday, Mary Moraa led Kenyans to top place in the 4x400m mixed relays first round. Others in the team were Kelvin Sawe, Gloria Mulei and David Sanayek.
Mulei also took part in the girls triple jump in which she finished ninth with a jump of 12.46 metres. Chinese Qiujiao Tan won in 13.64 metres.
Cynthia Chebet finished ninth (40.78m) in the Group A of javelin qualifications, which was won by Qing Cai of China 54.87 metres.
(Isaack Omulo for www.wu18nairobi2017.com)