In a thrilling battle all the way to the finish line, Ethiopia’s Mersesa Kahsay eclipsed the World youth best in the 2000m Steeplechase to take victory over Kenya’s Nicholas Kiptonui Bett in a scintillating 5:19.99.
The 17-year-old World Junior Championship seventh-place finisher smashed his lifetime best by 20 seconds in the process, following the East African pair’s relentless pace from the offset.
Having reeled in Bett’s 30-metre advantage by the 1000m mark, which was reached in 2:39.90, Kahsay stuck to Bett like glue as the Kenyan picked up the pace with 600m remaining before unleashing a superb finishing kick off the final barrier down the home-straight to grab the gold.
His gold medal represents Ethiopia’s first in this event since the 2007 edition in Ostrava where Legese Lamiso prevailed, while Bett’s silver medal follows Kenya’s six victories in the eight editions of this event.
Sixteen-year-old Bett took more than eight seconds from his personal best in clocking 5:20.92 ahead of his team-mate Justus Kipkorir Lagat who jogged the final 50 metres, exhausted from matching Bett’s early pace.
Registering a 5:30.00 lifetime best, he finished clear of fourth-place finisher Hicham Chemlal of Morocco (5:32.92) and Ethiopia’s Micheale Atsbaha (5:36.64) – the latter two setting personal bests in a race where 10 athletes in total could boast the same.