Kenya asserted her supremacy in the World of Athletics by harvesting three gold medals on the last day of the World U20 Athletics Championships that has been happening at the Moi International Centre Kasarani.
On the last day (Sunday) of the five day event, Kenya clinched three gold medals to close up the championship with 16 medals (8 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze to top the medal standings, defending the overall title won three years ago in Tampere, Finland.
Purity Chepkirui started the gold rush by winning the women’s 1,500m title as compatriot Winnie Jemutai won bronze as Ethiopian Diribe Welteji who managed squeeze in between for a silver medal.
The youngster crossed the line in 4:16.07 with Jemutai taking bronze after clocking 4:18.89 while Welteji won silver after clocking 4:16.39.
Eyeing 2024 Olympic Games, Chepkirui said that she had planned to win a gold medal because it was her first championship after facing competition from Ethiopians.
“The Ethiopian gave me a hard time and the few spectators gave me more energy. I will be eyeing Olympic Games in 2024 in Paris. I have always been inspired by Faith Chepngetich whom we come from the same area,” Chepkirui said.
Seventeen year old Jemutai said that she is still young and has the opportunity to compete at the world under 20 championships in Cali, Colombia next year.
“I really wanted to win gold but it was not possible, therefore I have set my focus for the 2022 under 20 championships next year,” said Jemutai.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi gave Kenya gold in the 800m with Noah Kibet settling for bronze in one of the fastest time which lead to setting a new championships record of 1:43.76 ahead of Algeria’s Mohamed Ali Gouaned who timed 1:44.45 and Kibet for bronze in 1:44.88.
“I had too much pressure since everybody wanted to win. God helped me to win. I was also prepared to win gold for this country. When I was pushed, I thought that I should not give up and it worked for me but I did not think of losing the race but that determination was good for,” added Wanyonyi.
Compatriot Kibet who is 17 years old said that he will be aiming to run at the U20 championships next year in Cali, Colombia.
“I really wanted to win but the push and pull forced me to finish third but I have another chance for other championships in Colombia next year,” said Kibet.
Amos Serem ensured that Kenya dominance in 3,000m steeplechase was still intact when will remain in Kenya when he won the title in 8:30.72 ahead of Ethiopia’s Tadese Takele who settled for silver in 8:33.15 as Simon Koech took bronze in 8:34.79.
The overwhelmed Serem said that started to celebrate after jumping the last barrier.
“We had good plans with my compatriot (Koech) and I had to win the title after we were beaten during the Olympic Games and I wanted to bring glory back,” said Serem.
Kenya wrapped the championships with a bronze in men’s 4x400m relays.
Benson Kiplangat – 5,000m men
Teresiah Muthoni Gateri- 3,000m women
Jackline Chepkoech- 3,000m steeplechase women
Heristone Wanyonyi- 10,000m race walk
Vincent Kiprop Kibet- 1,500m men
Purity Chepkirui- 1,500m women
Emmanuel Wanyonyi- 800m men
Amos Serem- 3,000m steeplechase men
Zenah Jemutai Yego- 3,000m women
Levy Kbet- 5,000m men
Faith Cherotich- 3,000m steeplechase women
Sylvia Chelangat- 400m- women
Noah Kibet- 800m men
Winnie Jemutai- 1,500m women
Simon Kibet Koech- 3,000m steeplechase men
4x400m relay men