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December 17, 2018

Kenyans eye history:Zakayo, Waithaka hope to wrestle 5,000m title from Ethiopia choke-hold

Edward Zakayo in men 5000M race final. /courtesy
Edward Zakayo in men 5000M race final. /courtesy
Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze medallist Edward Zakayo and Stanley Waithaka will be hoping to turn the tables on their Ethiopians rivals on the penultimate day of the World Under 20 championships in Tampere, Finland.
Ethiopia have dominated the 12-lap race in the recent past with Selemon Barega and Yomif Kejelcha winning the past two editions in Bydgoszcz and Eugene with reigning World 5000m champion Muktar Edris winning the event in Barcerlona in 2012. Kenya’s last winner in the event was David Bett in 2010 in Moncton, Canada
Zakayo will be buoyed by his performance at the Commonwealth Games and will be going flat out to reclaim glory in the event ably assisted by Waithaka.
The duo face a stern test from World youth champion Selemon Barega who has proved to be a thorn for Kenyan athletes in the recent past. Barega will have Hailu Bekele for company with stiff competition also expected from Uganda’ s Jacob Kiplimo, alongside Oscar Chelimo with Norway’s Jakob Ingrebrigstebn a dark horse in the event.
Meanwhile, George Manang’oi struck gold in the 1500m, fending off the challenge from the formidable  Ingebrigsten, Samuel Tefera and compatriot Justus Soget.
Manangoi backed up his world U18 title with a wonderfully resilient win, hitting the finish line in 3:41.71 to ensure that the U18, U20 and senior world 1500m titles now all belong to the same household.
Ingebrigtsen of Norway took silver in 3:41.89 while bronze went to Soget in 3:42.14 ahead of Britain’s Jake Heyward (3:43.76).
“I’m very grateful,” said Manangoi. “I wasn’t confident that I could win but I did my best and now I know I have the talent.”
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