Pre race favourites Kenya posted their worst ever performances the IAAF World U18 Championships as South African youth team achieved the nation’s best ever medal haul at a major global athletics championship.
The South African squad earned 11 podium places to finish top of the table with five gold and three silver and bronze medals each.
Kenya team won 4 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals behind the leaders South Africa (5-3-3) China (5,2,4) and Cuba (5,2,1) respectively.
Team Kenya was unable to take advantage of the defending champions United States of America (USA) absence to reclaim the overall title they won at the previous championship in Brassanone, Italy and earlier in Bydgoszcz, Poland during the inaugural championships.
Finishing fourth for Kenya was dismal because at the previous events Kenya has been finishing second and only once having managed a third place finish in the history of the youth championships.
The best highlight was when Kenyans won gold, with the host nation finishing fourth overall on medal standings.
The gold medals were won by Leonard Kipkemoi Bett (boy’s 2000m steeplechase), Jackline Wambui in girl’s 800m, George Manangoi (1500m), Caren Chebet (girl’s 2000m steeplechase)
Silver was won by Lydia Jeruto (girl’s 800m), Edward Zakayo (boy’s 3000m), Kandie Meyan (2000m steeplechase), Emmaculate Chepkurui (girl’s 3000m), Mercy Chepkirui (girl’s 2000m steeplechase), Mary Moraa (400m), Moitalel Mpoke Naadokila (boy’s 400m hurdles).
The Bronze medalists were Stanley Mburu Waithaka (boy’s 3000m), Dominic Samson Ndingiti (boy’s 10,000m walk), Japheth Kibiwott Totoritich (boy’s 800m), Edna Jebitok (girl’s 1500m).
“What we have achieved is beyond expression. We are very much excited with what our youth team has achieved,” said Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana. ”It’s not every day you top the world.
“We are world champions and if feels to be perched at the top. We would like to get used to this going forward.
“SA coaches are climbing the ladder and proving to the world nothing is impossible. Well done to all athletes and the rest of the support team who work behind the scenes.”
Year HOSTS Position by Kenya
1999, Bydgoszcz, Poland, 1st
2001, Debrecen, Hungary, 2nd
2003 Sherbrooke, Canada, 3rd
2005, Marrakesh, Morocco, 2nd
2007, Ostrava, Czech Republic, 2nd
2009, Brixen, Italy, 1st
2011, France, 2nd
2013, Donetsk, Ukraine, 2nd
2015, Cali, Colombia, 2nd
2017, Nairobi, Kenya, 4th