Launching a lightning kick with little more than 200 metres to go, Kenyan middle-distance runner George Manangoi had the lively home crowd on its feet on Friday (14) as he stormed to victory in the boys’ 1500m final in the afternoon session at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017.
After setting off at a relatively slow pace, the Ethiopian duo of Belete Mekonen and Abebe Dessassa took control of the pack in the early stages, but they seemed in no hurry and Mekonen led them through 800 metres in 2:07.58.
They eventually switched gears at the bell, launching a lengthy drive for the line in an effort to shake off a bunched field, but they were made to pay for their tactical approach.
Having sat back and played a waiting game, Manangoi, younger brother of world silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, was rewarded for his patience, drawing clear down the finishing straight to earn gold in 3:47.53.
Algeria’s Oussama Cherrad also produced a strong kick to take second place but he was later disqualified for obstructing an opponent.
Dessassa was elevated to second position, taking the silver medal in a personal best of 3:48.65.
Mekonen, who had entered the race with the fastest career best in the line-up (3:39.86), held on to take the bronze medal in 3:50.64.
Kenya’s Dominic Kipkemboi was a non-starter for the final, having appeared to have picked up an injury after winning his heat two days prior.