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Kenya has hopes in sprints as Kipkemboi, Manangoi win mile heats

Kenya’s future in sprints holds promise if events of the opening day of 10th IAAF World Under 18 Championships is anything to go by. Four athletes in 400m girls and boys raised medal hopes in short distance races by posting impressive results at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.

Mary Moraa led compatriot Sharon Jebet into today’s 400m girls semi-finals in a personal best time of 54.07, the fastest in four heats run yesterday.

“I came to the race very fearful of Jamaicans, South Africans and European sprinters so I ran cautiously at the beginning. When I realised we are more or less of the same quality, I went for it.

Hopefully, I will go on to win gold in the finals,” said Moraa. The boys followed suit soon after in a carbon copy performance that saw Kelvin Sawe Teuta win heat three in 47.36 before David Sanayek put up a spirited display to hold second spot in heat four with a personal best time of 47.29 behind Jamaica’s Antonio Watson who posted the fastest time in the heats.

Kenya got off to a superb start in the championships track events when 17-year-old Elijah Onkware Mathew qualified for the 100m boys semi-finals in a personal best time of 10.78. Mathew, however, reacted poorly to the gun in the semi-final three, placing sixth and exiting the championships.

Male milers Dominic Kipkemboi and George Manangoi electrified the scarcely occupied Kasarani Stadium with first finishes of their respective heats.

Ranked fastest in the entire 1,500m boys’ field, Kipkemboi, who won Kenya’s trials last month, led from gun to tape but limped into the final straight raising fears of his fitness for the finals.

Noah Kiprono sailed into today’s 800m boys’ semi-finals after finishing third in the second heat while compatriot Japheth Toroitich won heat four of the two lap race in 1:53.91.

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