Kenyan sprinters, race walkers and field event athletes rarely receive attention, with the limelight hogged by their distance running compatriots. But if the late Nicholas Bett, Julius Yego and David Kimutai, and perhaps Samuel Gathimba and Ferdinand Omanyala’s previous performances didn’t send a message, then Heristone Wanyonyi’s historic victory in the World Athletics Under-20 Championship men’s 10,000m race walk on Saturday surely must have.
Kenya's Heristone Wanyonyi celebrates with the flag after winning the men's 10,000 metres race walk during the World Athletics Under-20 Championships at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on August 21, 2021. Wanyonyi’s momentous performance that handed Kenya its maiden race walk title at a world athletics championship level must have been a wakeup call.
The 18-year-old from Makutano, West Pokot exchanged leads with pre-race favourite India’s Amit Khatri in the last four laps before breaking at the bell for sweet victory in a personal best time of 42 minutes 10.84 seconds. Efforts by Margaret Gati to replicate Wanyonyi’s performance in the women's event failed as she finished eighth albeit in a new Kenya record time of 49:15.12.Sofia Ramos Rodriquez of Mexico dominated the women’s walk race over the same distance, lapping almost the whole field to win in 46:23.01.
Wanyonyi’s victory is the first by any Kenyan at a world championship event either in youth, junior or senior level in race walk. Kenya's Heristone Wanyonyi celebrates at the finish line after winning the men's 10,000 metres race walk during the World Athletics Under-20 Championships at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on August 21, 2021. Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group
Amit settled for silver in 42:17.94 as Paul McGrath from Spain clocked a personal best 42:26.11 to take bronze. Bett made history as the first Kenyan to win a world title in sprints with victory in 400m hurdle at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. Thank you for reading this article please remember to like, share, comment your views and follow for more articles updates.
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