Frantic efforts to get facilities ready were hidden by a superb stadium and the ease at which athletes and visitors from world powers such as Germany, China and France, other European and South American nations felt.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, IAAF President Sebastian Coe and the First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta were chief guests in the brief mid-afternoon opening ceremony and then it was straight the afternoon competition business after heats of the morning session.
Abersh Minsewo of Ethiopia (front) beats Emmaculate Chepkirui of Kenya to the take Gold on first night. Photo: EDWARD OMONDI/LOC wu18nairiobi2017
Ethiopia v Kenya arch rivalry … advantage, Ethiopia: Abersh Minsewo (right) Gold and Yitayish Mekonene, Bronze got the better of Emmaculate Chepkirui, Silver. Photo: NOOR KHAMIS/LOC wu18nairobi2017
In a completely different style to openings, Margaret, President Kenyatta’s wife, 53, who loves sport and ran the 2014 London Marathon in 7 hours 4 minutes, ran a full lap at Kasarani’s blue “Mondo” track .
It was also a historic moment as every person alive and healthy who have won medals for Kenya at international athletics [Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the Olympic] came to the show. The old and young are booked at the nearby and walking distance Safari Park Hotel.
For style, concentration and determination, Steven Fauvel Clinch of France wins the prize at Kasarani on Thursday topping the 110 hurdles in the boys’ decathlon. Photo: NOOR KHAMIS/LOC wu18nairobi2017
They had an emotional re-union, the current superstars such as David Rudisha, Ezekiel Kemboi, Mercy Cherono being awed by legendary names Nyantika Maiyoro (1954 Commonwealth Games and 1956 Olympic Games), Kipchoge Keino (double Olympic Gold 1968, 1972), Hezekiah Nyamau (Silver and Gold medals Olympics 1968 and ’72), Ben Jipcho (Olympics ’68,72), Lydia Stephens Okech, Jeni Wambui Kenyatta and Tecla Chemabwai (Olympians 1968), Julius Korir (sole Olympic Gold medallist 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, John Ngugi, Julius Kariuki (Gold medals 1988 Olympics), Stephen Cherono a.k.a Saeed Saif Shaheen also of Qatar (multi time world champion and 3,000m steeplechase world record holder), Sally Barsosio (Bronze 1993, Gold 1997 World championships) and many others.
Tshenolo Lemao country’s first ever Gold medal in the 100m sprint in international major world championships. Photo: LOC wu18nairobi 2017
Then some of the world’s top teenage athletes produced a superb evening session and in some of the most exciting contests of the night, Ethiopia’s Abersh Minsewo battled Kenya’s Emmaculate Chepkirui and in a close finish the taller Ethiopian winning the girls’ 3000 final.
On Day Two, Thursday it was extra sensation: De’Jour Russell of Jamaica set a Championship record of 13.08 in the boys’ 110m hurdles. This caused further buoyancy on the Kenyans; their track getting sudden world recognition.
Cuban long jumper Maikel Y. Vidal wins the boys’ Gold medal. Cuban long jumper Maikel Y. Vidal wins the boys’ Gold medal. Photo: IAAF
It was a close final with the Ethiopia coming out on top of the host nation in a hard-fought race. Pushed all the way to the line, Minsewo managed to snatch the gold medal. She narrowly edged out Chepkirui by 0.07; the winning time. Minsewo’s compatriot, Yitayish Mekonene, took third place in 9:28.46.
That was after sprinter Tshenolo Lemao delivered a historic performance in the boys’ 100m final, becoming the first South African athlete to earn a medal over the distance at a world championship in any age division.
Lorraine Martins of Brazil wins her girls’ 200m heat (2) on Day One, Wednesday at Kasarani, Nairobi
While compatriot Retshidisitswe Mlenga and Jamaica’s Tyreke Wilson had entered the final as the favourites, Lemao held his composure after the race was disrupted by two faulty starts, charging across the line in 10.57.
Mlenga, who had earlier won his semifinal in a personal best of 10.37 in dry conditions, secured a one-two for South Africa by covering the short dash in 10.61 and Wilson held on for bronze in 10.65.
Kenya’s Edward Zakayo wins a 3,000m heat from Mikesi Mengesha of Ethiopia at Kasarani, Nairobi on Day Two, Thursday. Photo: LOC wu18nairobi2017
The shot put final went down to the wire in a thrilling three-way battle held in wet conditions.
Yu Tianxiao of China took the lead in the fifth round with a 17.62m effort, and teammate Sun Yue fell just three centimetres short of that mark with a 17.59m attempt. With China looking to earn the top two spots on the podium, Germany’s early leader Selina Dantzler spoiled the party with a 17.64m heave to grab the title.
“Coming into the final, my strategy was just to give it my all,” said Dantzler. “I’m proud to have done it for my country and my home town Munich.”
Armanda Ngandu-Ntumba of France qualified for final of girls’ discus throw on Friday after making a distance of 46.42 in the heats on Day One, Tuesday. She will have to do lot better against the best heats mark of Leia Braunagel of Germany (51.33). Photo: LOC wu18nairobi2017
Meanwhile, in preliminary rounds, Brazil’s Lorraine Martins was the fastest of the qualifiers for the girls’ 100m semifinals, to be held on Thursday afternoon. She won her heat in 11.85. Jamaica’s Kevona Davis (11.88) and Turkey’s Mizgin Ay (11.92) also dipped under 12 seconds to win their respective heats.
In the opening round of the boys’ 800m, Melese Nberet of Ethiopia (1:52.53) was the fastest of the qualifiers for the semifinals on Thursday.
Kenya’s Jackline Wambui (2:08.24), from Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha (2:09.74) wins her girls’ 800m semi-final heat, the best time of the day and is favourite to win Gold in final. Compatriot Lydia Jeruto Lagat also won her heat in 2:10.37 and the other winner was Zimbabwe’s Vimbayi Maisvoreva (2:11.09).
Jordan Diaz of Cuba was the best of the entrants in the qualifying round of the boys’ triple jump, launching a 15.95m leap to progress as the favourite for Friday’s final.
The boys’ hammer qualifying round was cancelled due to the inclement weather conditions, with the entire field of 18 athletes automatically entering the medal decider on Friday.
The Kenya Government has spent over Sh 4 billion [$40 million] to refurbish competition venue Mo International Sports Centre, Kasarani and Athletes Village, Kenyatta University in Nairobi’s northern suburbs.
WHAT THEY SAID:
President Uhuru Kenyatta – “I declare that the event will be free [no ticket charges] for all. Let Kenyans come and watch these global championship as it unfolds in our beloved country.
“These championships are not only about winning but building new networks and furthering your horizons.”
IAAF: From Nairobi to Bydgoszcz (where European Championships are taking place), good luck to all athletes competing at the EuroAthletics. We have fun memories from Bydgosz2016 (IAAF World U20 Championships).
Mathew Birir (Kenya legend, Gold, Barcelona Olympics 1992) on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation TV: Our boys and girls are doing ok but we have a threat in our strong events from perrennial rivals Ethiopia. Our coaching has a problem in the sprints and technical events, we suffered very much off the blocks and our David Saruni was unfortunately disqualified in the boys’ 400m hurdles.”
RESULTS, DAY I, Wednesday July 12:
- Tshenolo Lemao – Gold, 10.57 (South Africa)
- Retshidisitswe Mlenga – Silver, 10.61 (South Africa)
- Tyreke Wilson – Bronze, 10.65 (Jamaica)
3, 000m final:
- Abersh Minsewo – Gold, 9:24.62 (Ethiopia)
- Emmaculate Chepkirui – Silver, 9:24.69 (Kenya)
- Yitayish Mekonene – Bronze, 9:28.46 (Ethiopia)
- Selina Dantzler – Gold, 17.64 (Germany)
- Tianxiao Yu – Silver, 17.62 (China)
- Yue Sun – Bronze, 17.59 (China)
-Additional reporting by Correspondents and IAAF
Courtesy of http://voiceofsport.net