William Malel Sitonik, World Youth 3000m champion (© Getty Images)
Lille, FranceWilliam Malel Sitonik of Kenya will leave Lille just as he arrived: as the fastest in the world after a sizzling performance to take the 3000m gold.
The 17-year-old, running at the front for virtually the entire race, cruised to 7:40.10 Championships record, in the process moving up to the No. 4 position on the all-time youth lists.
Going through the first 800 in 1:58 and first 1000 metres in just over 2:28, Sitonik seemed to be on a chase for the 7:32.37 World youth best set by Ethiopian Abreham Cherkos in Lausanne five years ago. But while Cherkos had seasoned professionals in front of him, Sitonik was in the midst of a fierce five-way race that wasn’t settled until the final 200 metres.
Running close to the eventual winner were his teammate Patrick Mutuga Mwika, Ethiopians Solomon Deksisa and Hagos Gebrhiwet, and Abrar Osman Adem of Eritrea. Adem was bringing up the rear of the leading quintet at the bell, but moved into second to split the Kenyans as they headed into the final turn.
While Sitonik was well on his way to victory midway through the final straight, Mwika and Adem battled it out over the final 50 metres, with the Kenyan finally pulling ahead with about 20 minutes remaining. Mwika clocked 7:40.47 to take silver, and Adem 7:40.89 for bronze. They too, along with Deksisa (7:42.10) in fourth and Gebrhiwet (7:45.11) in sixth, also dipped under the previous Championships mark of 7:51.51 (Isaiah Kiplangat Koech, 2009) with personal bests.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF