Kenya squad to the Eastern Africa Youth Championships held over the weekend in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania lived up to their billing as they clinched the overall team gold after bagged eight gold medals, two silver and two bronze.
Jackson Kavesa, the Form Three student in Machakos County’s Kivandini secondary warded off stiff competition from Uganda’s Job Chepkurui and Djibout’s Mwaehe Binyamin to clinch gold in 3,000m in a time of 8:15.55 which was 9.35 seconds faster than second placed Chepkurui while Binyamin completed the podium places in 8:27.99.
“We had a good championship but it was not without its share of challenges. Since we did not have time to conduct our own trials, the team was selected from the secondary and primary school games held in April this year and we did not have enough time to prepare the athletes for the championship. It is clear that we still are weak in sprints,” said coach Gideon Nyangechi.
Samwel Mwita, Kenya’s only participant in 400m clinched gold in the distance in a time of 50:04. The Form Three student from Kisii’s athletics talent hub Mogonga Mixed Secondary School floored Eritrea’s Natnael Gebregzeber who came in second in 51.38 while Tanzania’s Mathias Benedictor finished third in 51.81.
Another youngster Francis Leshoo of Kisii’s Keberesi Secondary made a dash for Gold in 800m in a photo finish cutting the tape in 1:54.20 ahead Djibout’s Ali Hamzee’s who posted a time of 1:54.70 for second place.
In girls’ 800m category Sinonin Secondary’s Judy Kosgei finished first for gold in 2:11.68 while Tanzania’s Regina Deogratius Mpigachai came in second in 2:16.24. Kosgei’s time in Dar was an improvement by 2.62 seconds from her time in the Kenya Secondary School games finals held in Embu where she finished third.