Kumari Taki at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (© Getty Images)
Monaco is not the exclusive reserve for great 1500m racing today.
Following on from the jaw-dropping accomplishments at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the Stade Louis II, here in Cali Kenya’s Kumari Taki produced a courageous and classy front-running performance to take the boys’ 1500m title in a championship record of 3:36.38.
The gold-medal-winning display also elevated the rake-thin Taki to 10th on the world youth all-time list and ensured Kenya would take this title for the seventh time in nine editions.
Behind, Ethiopian Mulugeta Assefa was rewarded for a tactically astute run to edge past another Kenyan, Lawi Kosgei, and take the silver medal.
The first of five track finals on Friday saw Taki, shadowed by Kosgei, set a scintillating pace from the gun.
By 400m, which was passed in 57.04, the pair had already opened up a five-metre lead on Assefa with the second Ethiopian, Welde Tufa, a further 10 metres back – the rest of the field already way of out of contention.
Taki maintained the relentless pace to hit the 800m mark in 1:54.83 with Kosgei tucked close behind and Assefa about eight metres back from the Kenyan duo.
With 600 metres remaining, the 16-year-old Taki visibly accelerated and quickly opened up a gap on Kosgei.
At the bell the Kenyan was in total control, although Assefa had loomed up on to the shoulder of the fading Kosgei.
The final lap was a coronation of Taki’s superiority and he entered the home straight with a clear 25-metre lead.
As the Kenyan supporters cheered wildly from the stands, he crossed the line in 3:36.38 – clipping 0.39 from Robert Biwott’s championship record set two years ago in Donetsk.
Assefa, benefiting from a marginally more conservative approach in the first half of the race, powered past Kosgei to take silver in a personal best of 3:41.10.
Kosgei was briefly challenged by the fast-finishing Tufa, but held on for the bronze by 0.31, recording 3:41.43.
The remainder of the field were seemingly running in a different postcode, but Great Britain’s James Gormley earned the consolation of being the best of the rest in fifth place with 3:48.31.
Steve Landells for the IAAF