Are you kidding?!

Are you kidding me? These guys are supposed be under 18 in the year of competition - this year. These are the 800m medallists at the World Youth Championships in Lille FRA today:

1: Leonard Kirwa KOSENCHA (KEN) 1:44.08;

2: Mohammed AMAN (ETH) 1:44.68;

3: Timothy KITUM KEN) 1:44.98

Must be the barefoot running… to and from school.

There is much discussion on TFN about their ages. Here are pics of them:

Remember when you were in high school and there was always one kid with the full beard in your grade 9 English class? Perhaps this is the 800m equivalent :wink:

Does discussing “age doping” violate the terms of the site?

That 2nd guy looks older than me, and im 35…
Insanely fast times for guys 17yrs old. Unbelievably really

If they were born and raised in the anglosphere I would be suspicious, but look at where they are from.

The third world, especially in the remote villages , aren’t big on keeping records and crunching statistics. Most of these guys may have been given a birth certificate when they applied for their passport to run for their country overseas. So there can be a wide discrepency between fact and falsehood but the athletes themselves wouldn’t probably know. And who can we argue with? But I reckon it has reached the stage of being a straight up rort now.

When I went to visit Brother Colm O’Connell in Iten in the central highlands of Kenya some years ago he also added the the wisdom that at least in Kenya "they don’t like to count because it can be premature (or even bad luck). They sometimes don’t start to count until the children are a few years old because so many die as infants. "


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Kenya’s Kirwa Konsecha shows that he’s a true Masai warrior

Lille, France - Leonard Kirwa Konsecha was not even the best Kenyan youth 800m runner a month ago after he finished third at the Kenya Colleges and Schools Triangular Championships, which acted as a trials for the IAAF World Youth Championships, but he showed what determination and a few weeks of dedicated training can do.

At the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, he blasted his way to a World Youth best of 1:44.08 to leave the former mark of 1:44.34, which had belonged to Bahrain’s Belal Mansoor Ali since 2005, to be erased from the record books.

“He had been practising to do that sort of performance during the three weeks of training camp in the Ngong Hills we have had between the end of our own Championships and starting here,” said the Kenyan team head coach Gekonyo Kariuki.

“He’s been doing repetitions going through 200m in 24.5 second and then 400s in around 50 seconds. We planned to go through the first 400 in between 50 and 51 seconds because we knew that if they went through in 54 seconds it was anybody’s race but we knew this young boy has a good finish and could probably stay strong on the second lap.”

Kirwa Konsencha, who hails from the Masai district of Narok and close to where the senior World record holder David Rudisha lives, clearly remembered what he had done in the training camp near Nairobi as he blasted through 200m in a staggering 24.60 before taking the bell in 50.85.

He then just kept poring on the pace over the second circuit, despite close attendance by Ethiopia’s eventual silver medallist Mohammed Aman, until finally putting his Rift Valley rival to the sword down the home straight.

Konsecha Kirwa’s splits would have done a race in the Samsung Diamond League proud, and he moved up to fifth place on the 2011 world rankings which are lead by his near neighbour, but the times became jaw dropping as spectators in the Lille Métropole stadium remembered that the young man in front of them was just 16.

“The hidden factor in this race was that our 400m hurdler Ken Kirui Tele is a good friend of Konsecha’s and they have rooms side-by-side where we are staying. In fact, they are the only ones from our team on that particular floor of the hotel.

“I am sure they were saying to each other last night ‘I will do better than you. No, I will do better than you.’ They are Masai, they are Moran [warriors], and that is the way of the Masai, to challenge each other like that.”

“Kirwa Konsecha will have said to himself ‘I can’t go home without at least a medal, I cannot let myself be defeated’ after seeing Tele had finished fourth just a few minutes before he went to his marks,” added Gekonyo Kariouki

The quietly spoken Kirwa Konsecha was a man of few words in Lille and the media struggled to get a longer sentence than the comment of “I am very happy.”

However, he did appear to also have learnt what has now become the required demeanour of World record holders and, following in the footsteps of his role model Rudisha, obligingly posing by the trackside clock for photographers and pointed out his new record numbers.

The question now, obviously, is where does Kirwa Konsecha go from here?

Curiously, the boys 800m is one of the very few events at the World Youth Championships where all of the former champions have failed to get a medal at a global championship in the senior ranks.

Nicholas Wachira - Kenyans now having won the boys 800m at four of the seven editions of the World Youth Championships - was the winner at the inaugural championships in 1999, went on to take the gold medal at the following year’s World Junior Championships but never got beyond the semi-finals in his two World Championships appearances and retired from the sport four years ago.

In similar fashion, 2001 World Youth Championships winner Qatar’s Salem Al-Badri went on to win a silver medal at the 2002 World Junior Championships but never appeared at a senior World Championships and is now no longer running competitively despite being just 25 and theoretically the age when he should be at the peak of his career.

Saudi Arabia’s 2003 champion Mohammed A-Salhi did make the 2007 World Championships final, finishing eighth, but his successor, Kenya’s Gilbert Keter, has also disappeared from view on the international circuit.

Perhaps Kirwa Konsecha can break the jinx and climb the podium at a senior World Championships. With his rate of progress getting a medal in Beijing in 2015 is obviously not beyond the bounds of the imagination.

However, first, he has the intermediate stage of the IAAF World Junior Championships, which next year will be held in the Catalan city of Barcelona and on the same track where his compatriot William Tanui once demonstrated his own warrior spirit and took the 1992 Olympic Games 800m title.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF


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This is correct and even evident in football, where some guys are not quite sure of their age.
A few years shaved off your age in football can equal alot more money at the tail-end of your career.
I remember a Nigerian soccer team in the Olympics (I think) a few years ago had some serious similar questions raised about their age.

I coached a Ugandan international some years back, she confirmed my belief about this subject, many of them do not have a birth certificate, there are few records kept, so basically in a lot of cases they just make up their dob.

Very common with pro football in Italy too.

Awsome time even if his birth date isn’t true (sure it is dooh)