Gold and silver! Kipkurui leads Kenyan 1-2 sweep in U20 race

Kenyan fans enjoy celebrate their team's performance during the World Cross Country Championships at the Mount Panaroma Circuit in Bathurst, Australia on February 18, 2023.

Photo credit: Alfred Koech | Pool

What you need to know:

  • Kipkurui timed 24:29 as compatriot Reynold Cheruiyot took silver while Ethiopia's Boki Diriba sealed the podium places.

Ishmail Kipkurui timed his kick perfectly to win the World Cross Country Championships men's Under 20 title at Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, Australia on Saturday.

Kipkurui's victory ended Kenya’s 12-year wait when he led compatriot Reynold Kipkorir to a 1-2 finish in men’s under-20 8 kilometres.

Kipkurui took the ultimate break with 600 metres to go to win in 24 minutes and 29 seconds as World Under 20 1,500m champion Reynold Kipkorir went for silver in 24:30 to end Ethiopia and Uganda’s reign in the event.

"This is my first gold medal in international competition. I didn't expect much but became confident after the first lap. The hill at the end was very tough," said the 18-year-old from Baringo, who finished sixth in the Africa Junior Championships in Mauritius.

Two-time World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor, who will later battle in senior men’s 10km race, was the last Kenyan to win the junior title in 2011.

Ethiopia’s Boki Diriba settled for bronze in 24:31 as Uganda’s Dan Kibet came home fourth in the highly competitive race where a pack of 10 athletes went into the last lap in a group; five Ethiopians, three Kenyans and two Ugandans.

It was a thriller as Kipkurui and Kibet exchanged the lead in the final lap as Kipkorir and the Ethiopians followed.

Then it’s the Kenyan trials winner Kipkurui who made the move just before the weaving tyre challenge to triumph.

It was a brilliant showing for the Kenyan youngsters, who had moments ago watched their compatriots relegated to bronze in the women's Under 20 6km race won by Ethiopia's Senayet Getachew on the same course.