Five-times European Championship medallist, Yasmine Can took the top honors at the 31st edition of the Cross Internacional de Itálica held on Sunday (20) in Santiponce, Spain.
The four-time European Cross Country champion, didn’t have an easy ride as he fought a deep elite field that included the Tokyo 3000m women steeplechase champion, Peruth Chemutai from Uganda and the World U20 1500m champion, Purity Chepkirui from Kenya.
The 25 year-old who officially became eligible to represent Turkey at international competitions in 2016 cut the tape in a time of 32:31 with Chumutai coming home in second place three seconds later.
The 19 year-old Kenyan closed the podium three finishes in 33:47.
Spanish U23 Champion, Isabel Barreiro and Spain’s 5000m National Indoor champion Marta Garcia crossed the finish line fourth and fifth place in a time of 33:57 and 34:07 respectively.
World 5000m silver medallist champion Beatrice Chebet took the top honors at the 18th edition of the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca held on Sunday (13) in Atapuerca, Spain.
The 22-year-old who was the runner-up last year in Atapuerca and Elgoibar and then finished third in Seville, took charge of the 8km race with two laps to go and she never looked back cutting the tape in a time of 25:37 with Ethiopian-born Israeli Selamawit Teferi following her in second place in 25:50.
World U20 1500m bronze medallist Purity Chepkirui closed the podium three finishes in 25:50.
The race favorite, Luci Mawia from Kenya who already had wins in Bydgoszcz and Soria to her creditthis year, finished in fourth with Zerfe Wondimagegn from Ethiopia coming home in fifth in 25:50 and 26:08 respectively.
Kenya’s Brenda Chebet stormed to the women 1500m finals when she won her heat three race at the ongoing World Athletics U20 Championships being held in Cali, Colombia.
Chebet sailed to the finals when she crossed the finish line in 4:12.20 and was followed by Turkey’s Dilek Kocak who crossed the line in second with a personal best of 4:14.90. Japan’s Yuya Sawada finished in third place with a personal best of 4:15.29.
The defending champion Purity Chepkirui from Kenya also made it to the finals after finishing in 4:19.94
The 2018 Continental Cup 1500m champion, Winny Chebet defended her African title in the second day of the 22nd edition of the Africa Senior Athletics championships in Reduit, Mauritius.
The 31 year-old who came to this race with the fastest time on paper of 3:58.20 that she got at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, took the Africans honors in style as she crossed the line in a time of 4:16.10 with her compatriot World U20 1500m champion Purity Chepkirui coming home in second in 4:16.28 with World U20 800m champion Dagnachew Ayal from Ethiopia closing the first three places in 2:16.45
Brenda Chebet from Kenya and Uganda’s Janat Chemusto finished in fourth and fifth place in 4:17.25 and 4:21.36.
Reigning Olympic Games 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen will be seeking to defend his water and barrier title at the 22nd edition of the Africa championships that will be held from 08 June to 12 June in Reduit, Mauritius.
Kigen who is the World Military Games champion has named alongside the 2015 African Junior Champion Abraham Kibiwott and Geoffrey Kirwa
The 2015 Africa Games Athletics championships silver medalist Boniface Mtunga Mweresa is back into the National team after serving his two-year ban for use of higenamine, a prohibited substance in sports.
The 28 year-old will be competing in 400m alongside two time’s National champion, Collins Omae Gichana and William Rayan.
Athletics Kenya named the final squad of 68 athletes, 34 men and 34 women that will be representing Kenya at the bi-annual championships.
The team will be under the tutelage of Julius Kirwa where Kenya will have teams in men and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay races.
Three-time World 10,000m bronze medallist Paul Tanui will be chasing his maiden win.
100m -Maximilla Imali, Monica Safania, Eunice Kadogo
World U20 3000m champion Teresia Muthoni Gateri was named the Most Promising Female Athlete during the 18th edition of the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) that was held on Tuesday night (25) at the Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega County.
The 20 years-old won the 3,000m title during the World U20 championships that were held at the Kasarani stadium.
The Japanese based athlete edged out fellow nominees like tennis player Selline Ahoya, fellow world U20 3000m steeplechase bronze medalist Purity Chepkirui, world U20 3000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech and Trans Nzoia Falcons striker Violet Nanjala.
One silver lining of the postponed World U20 Championships in Nairobi last year is that there is just a one-year wait between that edition and the next one.
It means it’s slightly more likely that the medallists in 2021 will be able to compete for podium places again at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 on 1-6 August.
Of the 40 individual winners in Nairobi, 16 will be eligible to compete in Cali. Here’s a closer look at those talented teenagers.
Purity Chepkirui – Kenya, 1500m
Chepkirui was one of Kenya’s eight gold medallists in Nairobi. She beat Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji, the 2018 world U20 800m champion and sub-four-minute 1500m runner, to take gold over 1500m in 4:16.07.
Jackline Chepkoech – Kenya, steeplechase
The 18-year-old narrowly missed out on making Kenya’s Olympic team, but then turned her focus to the World U20 Championships. She went on to strike gold in a PB of 9:27.40, beating Ethiopian Olympian Zerfe Wondemagegn by eight seconds. Chepkoech’s teammate Faith Cherotich, who took bronze in Nairobi, will also be young enough to compete in Cali.
Tina Clayton – Jamaica, 100m
One of the youngest winners in Nairobi, Clayton claimed 100m gold in 11.09 and then formed part of Jamaica’s triumphant 4x100m team, setting a world U20 record of 42.94. Her twin sister Tia was also part of the relay quartet and, of course, will be able to compete in Cali later this year.
Mine de Klerk – South Africa, shot put
Another double medallist in Nairobi, De Klerk won the shot put title with 17.40m, having also taken silver in the discus with a PB of 53.50m. In the Colombian capital later this year, she’ll have the opportunity to retain her shot put title and upgrade her discus silver to gold.
Benson Kiplangat – Kenya, 5000m
A relative newcomer, Kiplangat defied the altitude of Nairobi to win 5000m gold in a PB of 13:20.37. In doing so, he held off a strong challenge from Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku, who had won 3000m gold earlier in the championships.
Erwan Konate – France, long jump
Having taken bronze at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn in mid-July, Konate uncorked the performance of his life to win long jump gold in Nairobi. The 18-year-old, who started the year with a PB of 7.30m, produced jumps of 7.98m, 8.00m and 8.12m in the final three rounds of the competition to secure the title.
Christine Mboma – Namibia, 200m
One of the revelations of 2021, Mboma took Olympic silver in Tokyo before landing the world U20 title in Nairobi in a championship record of 21.84 – one of five sub-22-second performances she achieved in 2021. Her time in Tokyo, 21.81, was recently ratified as a world U20 record and she will have the opportunity to improve on that in 2022, her final year as an U20 athlete.
Udodi Onwuzurike – Nigeria, 200m
US-based Nigerian sprinter Onwuzurike enjoyed the competition of his life in Nairobi last year. He smashed his 200m PB in the heats with 20.47, ran a wind-assisted 20.13 to win his semifinal, then took gold in the final with a PB of 20.21. He also featured on the Nigerian 4x100m squad which failed to get the baton around, but he and his teammates can aim to make amends in Cali later this year.
Heidi Salminen – Finland, 400m hurdles
Salminen, aged 17 at the time, headed to Nairobi off the back of a disappointing performance at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn, where she finished last in her 400m hurdles semifinal in 60.30. Having never broken 59 seconds before, she set a PB of 58.12 to win her heat and then smashed that three days later to win gold in 56.94.
Letsile Tebogo – Botswana, 100m
One of three titles won by Botswana in Nairobi, the men’s 100m went to Letsile Tebogo. The 18-year-old set a PB of 10.22 in the heats, then broke the senior national record in the semifinals with 10.11. Running into a minor headwind, he secured gold in the final in 10.19. He took silver in the 200m two days later, so will be keen to win a sprint double in Cali.
Imaobong Nse Uko – Nigeria, 400m
The prodigious Uko, who ran 52.36 at age 14 back in 2018, won three gold medals in Nairobi. The 17-year-old set a lifetime best of 51.55 to win the one-lap sprint title. One day later, she contributed to Nigeria’s triumph in the women’s 4x400m, having also formed part of the winning mixed 4x400m team earlier in the championships. All three medallists in the women’s 400m in Nairobi will be young enough to clash again in Cali this year.
Saga Vanninen – Finland, heptathlon
Finnish heptathlete Vanninen was one of a small handful of athletes to win gold at the European U20 Championships and World U20 Championships. The 18-year-old set PBs in the 200m (24.83) and javelin (49.22) en route to her 5997 overall victory, winning by 251 points.
Adriana Vilagos – Serbia, javelin
Another 17-year-old winner, Vilagos warmed up for Nairobi by setting a world U18 best of 70.10m with the 500g implement. Competing with the standard senior implement in the Kenyan capital, her opening effort of 61.46m added more than a metre to her PB and stood as the best mark of the competition. One month later, she improved her best to 62.36m in Zagreb.
Matvey Volkov – Belarus, pole vault
The prodigious pole vaulter, who set a world U18 best during the indoor season, enjoyed a successful outdoor campaign. After taking silver at the European U20 Championships, he went one better in Nairobi and struck gold with 5.45m.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi – Kenya, 800m
Three weeks after turning 17, Wanyonyi scorched to victory over two laps of the track in 1:43.76. Not only did he break the championship record, he also set a Kenyan U18 best.
Heristone Wanyonyi – Kenya, 10,000m race walk
No relation to the 800m winner, Wanyonyi produced one of the biggest surprises of the championships to win Kenya’s first global race walking title. He took the 10,000m race walk crown in a PB of 42:10.84, and the fact he excels in altitude should stand him in good stead in Cali later this year.
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.