World and Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi showed his class by winning his speciality at the IAAF Continental Cup, Ostrava.
Manangoi clocked 3:40.00 with European duo of Marcin Lewandoski (3:40.42) and Jacob Ingrebrigsten (3:40.80) settling for silver and bronze.
The Kenyan ran a relaxed opening half to the race, sitting in behind early leader Drew Hunter of Team America, who towed them through 400m in 60.74. Manangoi moved to the front on the next lap, hitting 800m in 2:03.56 but it was solely to secure prime position for the last lap burn-up.
He was soon joined by European duo of Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Marcin Lewandowski, who clung on Manangoi’s shoulder as the African hit 1,200m in 3:01.19.
By then, the pace had truly clicked into gear, with Manangoi stretching the field out behind him in a line. Around the last turn, Lewandowski came charging at him but Manangoi still had plenty up his sleeve, changing gears once as he turned for home and surging away to win.
“This means a lot for me because it wasn’t only about my own ambitions but to bring as many points as possible to Team Africa,” said Manangoi.
“I knew it would not be easy, but you have to be ready for a very tactical race. It’s a nice ending to a really great year. I won Commonwealth Games, African Championships and after this win at the Continental Cup, I’m going to start preparations for Doha 2019.”
Further back, Team Americas’ Charles Philibert-Thiboutot came through well to take fourth in 3:40.90, with Asia-Pacific’s Ryan Gregson a flicker behind in fifth with 3:40.91. Europe took the maximum eight points in the team event courtesy of Lewandowski and Ingebrigtsen’s joint effort behind Manangoi.
Despite good show by the Kenyans, Team Africa still finished last with 142 points. Team won the title with 262 while Europe were second with 233. Asia-Pacific were third with 188 points.