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Kenya’s Mary Moraa delighted the home crowd as she came steaming through the girl's 400m at the IAAF World U18 Championship to win silver for the hosts.

Moraa looked out of contention at the bend but then found a devastating kick on her stride during the final 100m which enabled her finish second in a PB of 53.31.

“The crowd really motivated me to give my best in the last metres,” said Moraa. “I’m so grateful to my coach for trusting and guiding me.”

The race was won by Czech Republic's Barbora Malikova who at just 15 years of age, defied her age and relative inexperience to run not just the smartest, but by far the strongest race in the girls’ 400m final to take gold in 52.74, taking more than a second off her personal best in the process.

The Czech athlete ran a casual first 100m, entering the back straight a few metres down on all her rivals, but that, it seemed, was all part of her plan.

At that point, Doneisha Anderson of the Bahamas held the lead, having blasted around the opening bend, but then Malikova truly got into her running and began closing down on her rivals. She joined them on the final bend, entered the home straight alongside, then powered away over the final 100 metres, her face a picture of textbook relaxation as she crossed the line.

It made her the youngest every winner of this event, and her time of 52.74 was the quickest by a Czech athlete – of any age – this year. “This is a very nice moment and the feeling is very nice, having won my country a gold medal,” she said.

Giovana Rosalia dos Santos third in a PB of 53.37. Back in fourth, Doneisha Anderson also set a PB of 53.59, though it will have proven little consolation for an athlete with her eyes on gold.

The fastest-ranked athlete before the championships, Shaquena Foote of Jamaica, could only manage fifth in 54.04, with Milagros Duran of the Dominican Republic came home sixth in a PB of 54.08 - IAAF

 

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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.

Chebet's great conviction

Taking advantage of her compatriot's error, Kenya’s Caren Chebet charged to victory at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 on Friday (14), winning the gold medal in a dramatic girls' 2000m steeplechase final.

Having pulled away from Chebet in the closing stages, Mercy Chepkirui looked to have the race wrapped up on the final lap, but she stumbled at the last water jump and was left sprawled on the track.

Yanking herself back up, Chepkirui soon regained her rhythm, but she could not respond to a late surge from Chebet and settled for second place.

Chebet crossed the line in 6:24.80, chopping nearly three seconds off Chepkirui's world U18 lead, and Chepkirui took silver, also setting a personal best of 6:26.10 to the delight of the home crowd.

Ethiopia's Etalemahu Sintayehu grabbed the bronze medal in 6:35.79.

"I'm very happy because it's my first time to compete on such a big stage," Chebet said.

"I thank my coaches who have instilled discipline in me, enabling me to win."

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