IAAF World U-18 Athletics Championship: South Africa top for first time, hosts Kenya finish 4th

Nairobi: South Africa completed a clean sweep in the boy's sprints to top the medals table for the first time at the IAAF World Under-18 Athletics Championship in Nairobi on Sunday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

South Africa, fifth in 1999 and 2005, amassed 10 medals including five golds over the five days of the championship.

They started the final day with a one-two in the men's 200 metres won by Retshidisitswe Mlenga in a season's best time of 21.03 seconds.

The 17-year-old Mlenga, who already held the best time of 21.14 seconds, held off compatriot Tshenolo Lemao in a reverse result to the men's 100 metres.

"I came in very focused, having made a mistake in the 100 metres finals that happens to be my favourite race," said Mlenga.

"I listened to my coaches' instructions this time, and I am happy to have won the gold medal."

Lemao, who won South Africa's first ever gold in the 100 metres, took silver with a personal best of 21.12 seconds while Germany's Luis Brandner (21.23 seconds) was third.

China finished second in the medals table with five gold, two silver and four bronze medals, with Cuba in third place with eight medals - five golds, two silvers and a bronze.

Hosts Kenya finished a disappointing fourth - their lowest position in the biennial championship - but with the highest number of medals, 15.

A capacity crowd of over 60,000 spectators had turned out at the Kasarani Stadium to cheer the Kenyan runners win the boy's 2,000 metres steeplechase and girl's 800 metres races, but poor team tactics put paid to the hosts' hopes of a third world title when they lost the decisive boys' 3,000 metres to arch-rivals Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's world under-20 5,000 metre champion Selemon Barega beat two Kenyans to add the 3,000 metre title to his collection.

Updated Date: Jul 16, 2017 22:11 PM

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