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Zakayo’s script reads like that of most Kenyan world-beating runners – that he overcame hardship to conquer the world.

Five days ago Kenyan athletes taking part in the World Under-20 Championships closed the global event in style after winning gold and two silver medals to finish top of the medal table.

Kenya, an East African nation, topped the table with 11 medals- six gold, four silver and one bronze.

Solomon Lekuta delivered the sixth gold for Kenya on the final after winning a tight contested men’s 800m. Earlier on, World Under-18 champion 2,000m steeplechase Leonard Bett had bagged silver in the 3,000m steeplechase with 2016 Africa Cross Country Championships junior champion Miriam Cherop settling for silver in 1,500m women’s race.

Despite the three medals that increased Kenya’s tally, the 5,000m men’s race was the highlight of the five-year event which was the most beautiful performance that mattered in predicting the destiny of the overall championship title.

Firstly, taking you back to the middle distance running history, Kenya has been known to produce some of the best athletes ever, with its athletes showing sterling performances and bringing home lots of gold medals.

In recent years, no country has produced as many excellent fifteen lap runners in IAAF World U-20 Championships as Kenya has. In fact looking at a list of the fastest 5000m runners in history, 30% of them are Kenyan.

It was the same case during the World U-20 Championship last Friday in Tampere, Finland where little-known Edward Zakayo stunned favorite Selemon Barega from Ethiopia to clinch gold.

The 17-year-old youngster led his compatriot Stanley Waithaka in Kenya’s 1-2 finish to take Kenya’s gold medal tally to five.

Zakayo clocked 13: 20.16 while Waithaka with whom he has close bonds with settled for silver coming home in a time of 13:20.57.

Barega had beaten the 17-year old Zakayo to the 3000m gold medal last year at the IAAF World Under-18 Championship in Nairobi, making Kenyan declare a pre-race vow to stun the favorite.

Indeed the Ethiopian missed out on a podium place, finishing fourth behind bronze medal winner Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway.

The quality of the final was such that reigning champion Barega, considered one of the most watertight favourites across the championships, was run out of the reckoning altogether in an almighty sprint for medals on the last lap.

In the early stages Zakayo and his compatriot were more than content to be dictated and didn’t seem unduly weakened by the fast early pace.

The last lap so fast and physical with Zakayo slings hotting himself to the front with only 50 metres remaining, crossing the finish-line with his arms outstretched for the gold.

The youngster’s victory helped the nation in the road to reclaim the title it last won in 2010 in Canada before losing to the United States who have gone on to dominate the last three editions in Spain, on its home soil and in Poland.

“I feel great to beat Barega and that was my mission here. I ran behind him all through before sprinting in the last 100m,” Zakayo told reporters after the race.

Zakayo’s script reads like that of most Kenyan world-beating runners – that he overcame hardship to conquer the world.

But the new 5,000m Junior World champion’s story is not another cliché, and offers renewed hope to fresh, upcoming athletes.

A native of Narok County in the Rift Valley, Zakayo does not come from an area renowned for producing world-beating distance runners, at least not in the same frequency as places to the west like Eldoret and Iten.

He embraced athletics in 2014 while in Standard Seven at Ntasirika Primary School in Loita, Narok South and from that point not even his strict mother, who disapproved of wearing tight training gear, stopped Zakayo from achieving his dream in the sport he loves.

In a recent interview, Zakayo said his aim in running is to help his mother out of poverty and pay for his education.

During the last year’s IAAF World Under-18 Championship, the Form 3 student at Kapsait Secondary School shed tears at the sight of a his bare-footed mother who turned up at Kasarani to give him moral support when he stepped onto the track for his race.

When he took bronze in his first senior race at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, Zakayo said he was happy on the way he performed and was yearning more to achieve more in his career.

“I want to be the Rudisha in 5,000m and 10,000m. Just like Rudisha, I want to win both the 10,000m and 5,000m world and Olympic tittles in future,” said Zakayo.

And now with a win over Barega under his belt, Zakayo will be favored for medals at the African Championships in Assela, Nigeria next month.

Most of athletics coaches in Kenya have tipped Zakayo to rule his discipline for the next decade.

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