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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya off to strong start as world youth
championships start in Nairobi

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Hosts Kenya started off their medal hunt on a good note as Dominic Kipkemboi and George Manangoi dominated the boys’ 1,500m to qualify for the final of the World Under-18 Championships on Wednesday in Nairobi.

Manangoi and Kipkemboi led from the front to stamp their authority and send a clear message to the host’s rivals that Kenya was out to rule the roost at the final World Youth Championships.

Kipkemboi opted to take his traditional gun-to-tape performance, winning the first semi-final in 3:48.77 after cruising through 800m in 1:55.79 and 1200m in 2:58.17.

Kipkemboi beat Algeria’s Oussama Cherrad who came in second in 3:48.93 ahead of Abebe Dessassa from Ethiopia in third taking 3:49.58 to all qualify.

George, the younger brother of world 1,500m silver medalist Elijah Manangoi, stayed in the middle of the pack before going second behind Ethiopian Belete Mekonen at the bell.

Mekonen, who clocked 3:16.41 past 1200, fell behind Manangoi, who kicked with 300m to go to win in 3:55.00.

“I had a lot of respect for my opponents though I did not want to strain myself very much because I’m eyeing the top podium finish on Friday. I lost to Kipkemboi during last month’s trials but now I believe in myself. I have been training well, I’m in good shape and I hope to lower my personal best on Friday,” said Managoi.

In another race, Kenyans Mary Moraa and Sharon Jebet sparked to form and claimed their spots in the girls’ 400m semifinals.

Moraa, staged a tactical race to triumph in a personal best of 54.07 having held on to the lead by the 300m mark to go.

A late surge from Brazilian Rosalia Dos Santos Giovana at the last bend could only trigger her sprint as she pulled out stronger in the final straight to win in a personal best of 54.29 ahead of Giovana while Serbia’s Sekulic Kataria came in third also in her best time of 54.86 to qualify for the semifinals from the second heat.

Meanwhile, Uganda athletes are keen to return home with some silverware. The team of six arrived in Nairobi on Monday and went straight to training.

The Uganda team has Daniel Kiprop and Hosea Kiplangat in 1500m, Joshua Kibet and Bekele Apenyo in 800m, Sarah Chelengat and Esther Chekwemoi 3000m and Daniel Kiprop in 1500m.

The team was received by IAAF head Sebastian Coe who said, “This event is so helpful as it prepares young athletes for bigger games in future.”

Coe thanked Uganda and Kenya for hosting the two big events of the IAAF this year and that is the World Cross Country in Uganda on March 23 and the IAAF U18 Championships starting today in Kenya.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Kenya tightens security ahead of global athletics event

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has thrown a security cordon at the venue and environs of the 2018 World Under-18 Athletics Championships that get underway on Wednesday in Nairobi.

All the facilities that will play host to the event that will run from July 12 to 16, have been secured in one of the biggest security undertakings to be seen in the country in recent times.

Contingents of armed law keepers from all security formations are leaving nothing to chance in order to secure the games that saw some teams pull out owing to purported security concerns.

“We have left nothing to chance to host secure games. Those countries that pulled out will rue the day they made their decision not to attend the event,” the CEO of the local organizing committee, Mwangi Muthee, remarked.

Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and defending champions United States have already announced their withdrawals from the games.

All vehicles heading to the venue of the event must undergo security checking more than 100 meters away from the stadium and police officers are under instructions to be courteous albeit maintaining a hawk eye on people.

A police post has been set up at the venue to deter any uncertainty that might visit the games.

The President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe told reporters on Tuesday that the association decided to make the event the last edition in order to shift focus to regional and continental competitions in order to give impetus to develop the sport in areas that are lagging behind.

“I wish young athletes competing this week, many of who will be travelling abroad for the first time in their lives, an enjoyable experience and a memorable time,” Coe said.

Among the athletes who passed through the ranks of the Under 18 championships are world record holders Usain Bolt (100m and 200m) and David Rudisha (800m). 

           

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