NAIROBI, Kenya- Jackline Wambui led compatriot Lydia Jeruto to the Kenyan 1-2 in the girls’ 800m final against the backdrop of the craziest of sporting atmospheres as the grand finale of Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Under 18 (WU18) Championships unfolded on Sunday.
Wambui lifted a jam-packed 60,000-seater Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani into space when she brought home Kenya’s third gold medal of these championships in a World U18 leading 2:01.46.
It was a spectacle to behold when compatriot Jeruto came home for the second medal in a personal best of 2:02.06 as Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha trailed for bronze in 2:06:32.
Wambui and Jeruto line-up for the start as a series of Mexican waves went round the Kenyan sporting cathedral that has never seen such crowds since 1997 when national football team Harambee Stars welcomed Nigeria Super Eagles in a 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
The volume went up to pollution levels the moment the two Kenyans appeared on the stadium screen with the blasting sounds of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers over the speakers barely audible.
From the gun, the Kenyans went in front but it was Hirut who took the field through the opening lap in 1:01.53.
Wambui who was almost running shoulder to shoulder with the Ethiopian made her move as they approached the bend to the back straight, opening up her powerful legs before her compatriot moved up the field to sit behind her.
With 200m to go, the Kenyan pair pressed down the accelerator to turn the battle for honours into an internal contest.
Despite giving it her all, the shorter Jeruto could not match the finishing power of Wambui and as both reached the line arms aloft, the crowd simply went bananas.
Soon, they embarked on their lap of honour, drawing deafening decibel levels but nobody cared after watching the Ethiopians spoil the party on the opening and penultimate day of the competition as the home crowd celebrate like there was no tomorrow.
Girls 800m results
1 1229 Jackline WAMBUI KEN 2:01.46 WU18L
2 1220 Lydia Jeruto LAGAT KEN 2:02.06 PB
3 1130 Hirut MESHESHA ETH 2:06.32
4 1269 Milena KORBUT POL 2:08.45
5 1249 Chaimae ISMAILI MAR 2:09.78
6 1372 Vimbayi MAISVOREVA ZIM 2:12.79
7 1244 Lena KIEFFER LUX 2:13.18
8 1194 Sivan AUERBACH ISR 2:19.51