Stunning Zakayo wins Kenya 5,000m World Under 20 Gold
Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Edward Zakayo earned revenge over Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, beating him to the IAAF World Under 20- 5000m title in Tampere, Finland on Saturday evening.
Barega had beaten Zakayo to the gold medal last year in Nairobi in the final of the 3000m and the Kenyan had vowed to go in and lay revenge.
He did exactly that leading Stanley Waithaka to a 1-2 finish as Barega even failed to get a medal finishing at fourth.
"Barega was the favourite, he was the guy to beat today," acknowledged the winner. "I knew I was in good form and I raced tactically well. Next I have the African Championships."
Zakayo won the race after crossing the finish line in a time of 13 minutes, 20.16 seconds while Waithaka came second in a time of 13 minutes 20.57 seconds Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway won bronze.
Barega and his Ethiopian teammate Telahun Haile were the fastest on paper with lifetime bests of 12:55.58 and 13:04.63 respectively and they made it hard from the gun, passing through the first three kilometres in 2:38.04, 5:21.88 and then 8:06.70 (2:44.82) with Barega doing most of the pacemaking.
The Kenyans were more than content to be dictated to in the early stages and didn't seem unduly weakened by the fast early pace.
A leading quintet which included reigning world U20 cross country champion Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda began to settle and they were joined by Norway's Ingebrigtsen who took advantage of the pace slackening after starting conservatively.
After a fast and frantic start to the final, the race turned into a nervous and cagey affair with six athletes still in close contention --and running two abreast --heading into the bell lap.
A grandstand finish was in store, although the lapped runners with some moving out and some not caused some heavy traffic for the leaders.
The last lap was fast and physical with Zakayo slingshotting himself to the front with only 50 metres remaining, crossing the finish-line with his arms outstretched.
Kenya has already won the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m at the championships on the men's side with more chances to enrich their medal haul tomorrow in the 3000m steeplechase and the 800m finals.