NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Biennial International Association of
Athletics Federation (IAAF) W-U18 championships wrapped up here
The Nairobi 2017
championships marked the 10th edition, but will be
the final such WU-18 event.
Over 2,000 athletes
and their officials from 131 countires and regions participated
in the Nairobi 2017 competitions where hosts Kenya emerged in
position four, but boasted in their preparation of a very
successful global event.
The East African
nation was beaten in the medal ranking by South Africa, China
and Cuba. Its long-time rival in long distance races, Ethiopia,
emerged in position five.
Despite putting up a
spirited competition in all the 17 events on offer, Kenya only
managed 4 gold medals, 7 silver, and 4 bonze compared to the
overall winner South Africa’s 5 gold, 3 silver, and three
took home 5 gold medals, 2 silver, and 4 bronze while Cubans
went away with 5 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze.
The Ethiopians, who
posed the greatest challenge to the Kenyans in the 3,000 meters
and steeplechase events for men, managed 4 gold medals, 3 silver
and five bronze.
Kenya’s hopes to top
the medal list had been heightened during the 800 meter event
for girls when Jackline Wambui and Lydia Jeruto Lagat outpaced
their Ethiopian rivals to bring home gold and silver medals.
Despite Kenya losing
the gold medal to Ethiopians in the 3000 meters race where
Stanley Mburu Waithaka and Edward Zakayo managed second and
third positions respectively, hopes for the Kenyans were
rekindled again during the steeplechase event where local
athletes managed the first two positions.
Leonard Kipkemoi and
Cleophas Kandie gave the boys from Addis Ababa a run for their
money when they left them trailing to position three and four
with a huge gap between them.
But when it came to
the 4X400 mixed race, two boys and two girls from each of the
participating countries, the Kenyans and the Ethiopians could
not match the speed of the Brazilians.
The weekend events
attracted one of the largest crowds, where the 60,000-capacity
stadium was bursting at the seams.
of the event and some of the veterans spoke highly of the
preparations, saying Kenya had delivered its promise to host a
successful global event.
“We have done very
well as a country. We have delivered the competitions beyond the
expectations of the IAAF,” said Local Organizing Committee Chief
Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee.
He was optimistic
that all Kenyan youths participating in the five-day track and
field extravaganza would one day become “superstars.”
youngsters competing under intense pressure. I am optimistic all
of them will become superstars in their respective fields,” said
Paul Tergat, veteran of the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races said he
was very satisfied with the performance of the Kenyans. He was
also amazed by the enthusiastic crowds that had turned up for
another legend in the 3000 meters race and marathon said the
young Kenyan athletes should in future be allowed to attend the
competitions with their own coaches and trainers.
“We must support and
empower our coaches. Our girls should be allowed to attend the
competitions with their coaches whom they are familiar with,”