Kenyans dominant as athletics programme ends in Arusha

Saturday, August 24th, 2019 00:00 |
Joseph Rotiken of Olorukuti Secondary School celebrates in Arusha Friday. Photo/LYNETTE MATHEKA

As the athletics programme concluded Friday at Sheikh Abeid Stadium in Arusha, Kenyans ruled the Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Association (FEASSSA) with ease. 

The Kenyans picked from where they left on Thursday, dominating in the middle distance races to win gold in boys’ 5,000m, 800m as well as in girls’ 3,000m and 800m. 

Joseph Rotiken and Nelly Chepchirchir handed Kenya gold in 800m in boys’ and girls’ categories, respectively, as the former clocked 1:54.0 while the girls’ winner clocked 2:12.4. 

Kenya’s Francis Leshoo registered 1:54.9 to pick silver in boys’ category while Leah Jeruto clocked 2:13.2 to ensure a 1-2 podium finish for Kenya in girls’ 800m.

“I did not think I was much of a runner until I decided to participate in the trials for team Kenya to the Under 20 Africa championships and made the cut. I finished second in that championship held in Ivory Coast and that motivated me as I prepared for this competition.

“I have doubled in 1,500m and 800m.

 I want to specialise going forward but that is a decision I will make after school,” said the Form Four student at Olorukoti Secondary in Transmara. Elsewhere, national 5,000m silver medallist Johnstone Meli broke away from the leading pack of three with four laps to go and went on to bag gold in a time of 14:15.9. 

With national champion Jackson Kavesa and Tanzania’s Matayo Sombi his biggest competitors in the race,  Meli maintained his composure to win the race comfortably. 

Sombi piped an exhausted Kavesa with 200m to the finish line to pick silver in 14:28.0 as the latter settled for bronze on 14:39.0. 

“Losing in the nationals was painful so I trained harder for the East Africa championship knowing that Kavesa will be my toughest competitor. I am happy for the win,” said Meli.

On his part, the national champion Kavesa blamed his loss of momentum on the running surface they used in Friday’s race.  “I was preparing to compete in the Athletics Kenya national trials at Nyayo so my preparations all along has been on a tartan track.  Having to switch to this surface was tough but I did my best,” said Kavesa.  

Form One student at Kibugat Secondary Emmaculate Anyango led from the second lap of the girls’ 3,000m to cut the tape in 9:36.7 ahead of Tanzania’s duo of Aisha Khamis and Naomi Yombo who picked silver and bronze in 9:52.6 and 9:56.4 respectively.  

“I double in 5,000m and this race but coming to the East Africa games in prepared very well for 3,000m since I knew I will not be doubling. I was part of team Kenya to the Under 20 Africa games and that has given me confidence going forward,” said Anyango. 

Brian Tenga won Kenya gold in boys’ 400m after clocking 48.0 with Bernard Kiptoo bagging bronze in 49.5. Uganda’s Layeng Sibryanda won silver in 48.9. Dennis Kangogo and Collins Kipkorir won gold and silver in 15.10 and 14.83 in triple jump respectively.  

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