World U20 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist, Faith Cherotich elevated her status as she produces an absolutely stunning solo effort to run away with the Women 3000m steeplechase crown at the ongoing World U20 Championships that are being held in Cali, Colombia.
The 18 year-old took the honors in a scintillating style crossing the finish line with her second fastest of 9:16.13.
Cherotich pipped Sembo Almayew from Ethiopia who was the race favorite as she also came to the race with three records under her belt of WU18B, AU18B, NU20R and with also the fastest time on paper of 9:09.19 that she got at the Paris Diamond League.
Almayew could not hold the quick pace of the Kenyan as she was left gasping for breath and forced to settle for the second spot in a time of 9:30.41 with her compatriot Meseret Yeshaneh closing the podium three finishes in 9:42.02.
There was another battle outside the podium as Tunisia’s Rihab Dhahri pipped Kenya’s Pamela Kosgei to cross the line in fourth and fifth place with a time of10:06.42 and 10:06.46 respectively.
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 has submitted her bid to host the 2025 World Championships. Athletics Kenya president Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said that they have submitted the bid and he is very confident of a positive response.
Kenya has hosted both the World U18 and World U20 championships in the last four years, but faces a string of high-profile rivals — including Tokyo, which staged the Summer Olympics in July.
“We formally confirmed our bid to host the global championships on Friday, Oct. 1, which was the deadline, set by World Athletics,” AK president Tuwei said.
“We organized two very successful world junior championships at the Kasarani stadium in 2017 and in August 2021, where a number of world records and personal bests were realized. We learnt a lot of lessons in staging both events, and realistically it is our time to bring the biggest event.”
Africa has never hosted World Athletics’ premier showpiece, which was first contested in Helsinki in 1983.
Kenyan sports minister Amina Mohammed first announced the country’s bid for the 2025 world championships in Doha in September 2019, after WA said the global event would be held on a rotational basis across continents.
Africa athletics chief, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, said in 2017 that he wished the continent could host the 2025 World Championships, mentioning Kenya as a possible host.
Kenya’s Amos Serem and Simon Kiprop Koech made sure that the world knows that the water barrier race belongs to the East Africa nation when they took the reins of the 3000m men’s title in both heats at the ongoing World U20 Championships bein held at the Moi International Sports Centre.
Serem who is under the stewardship of 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and two-time world silver medalist, Patrick Sang, took the second heat of the race when he powered on in the last 30m kicking out Ethiopia’s Tadese Takele to claim vicytory in 8:29.99.
“I want to maintain the traditions of the 3000m steeplechase race because it has been always ours. I will work with Koech to make sure that the gold remains at home,|” said Koech.
Koech took control of his race winning it easily in 8:52.43 and was followed by Ethiopian Samuel Firewu who crossed the line in 8:52.87.
The 18-year-old Serem, a form four student at Chewoyet High School, will partner with Koech at the finals on Sunday.
Japanese based Kenyan Teresiah Muthoni Gateri led a 1-2 podium finish at the ongoing world U20 Championships at theMoi International Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi.
Gateri led Zena Jemutai Yego for a 1-2 podium in the women 3000m flat race to end the day with two gold, one silver and a bronze for team Kenya in the second day of the championships.
Gateri said that being her first time in a championship, she was glad for gold on home soil to give Kenyans a happy evening back home since they cannot see each other on one on one.
“Winning gold and leading a 1-2 podium was not a walk in the park but determination. With this great and precious gold, it means a lot for me,” said gateri.
She added that she knew the race would be tough but she had to give the best she could.
“I know it was a toughest race by we had to combine our forces with my compatriot Zena Jemutai to deliver such great results in the greatest championships at our backyard and am happy that she bagged silver,” added Gateri.
Jemutai, the Africa under 18 3,000m champion was in her on class for the medal after missing the 2018 Tampere championships.
“My training had given me the best endurance and I’m happy because it was a good revenge towards the Ethiopian athletes,” said Jemutai.
Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi goes into Thursday’s women’s 100m final at the World Athletics Under-20s Championships in Nairobi as one of the favourites to win the title.
The 18-year-old, who was sixth in the Olympic 200m final, finished first in her 100m semi-final in Nairobi having earlier claimed a personal best time of 11.20 seconds in the heats.
“It’s crazy because just the other day I was competing with the world’s best athletes at the Olympics,” Masilingi told BBC Sport Africa.
“I would say I got a lot of experience there and more – and I think I can use all that Olympics experience here at the junior Championships, so I am here to show what I have got.”
Masilingi is blocked from running distances between her favoured 400m and one mile under World Athletics rules because her testosterone levels are beyond the allowed limit for female athletes to compete over that distance, unless she medically lowers her testosterone for a period of at least six months.
Masilingi said the World U20 Championships were always her target this year.
“I didn’t really plan to take part in the Olympics – I was planning for the junior Championships, I mean as a junior, this is the biggest stage for us and this is every young athlete’s dream to show your skills – I really respect the World juniors.
“First of all it’s the love I have for athletics, so being here and competing here with the other athletes is so much fun – it’s really great and I am loving the experience so very much.
“I have been running my best times in Africa and winning the World junior title will be a bonus. I am really looking forward to running in the final,” Masilingi added.
All three gold medals that were on offer on day one of the World U20 Athletics Championships in the Kenyan capital went to Africa.
There was a one-two finish for Ethiopia in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase with Tadese Worku winning gold and compatriot Ali Abdilmana taking silver while Eritrea’s Samuel Habtom won bronze.
“This is a very good start for me – I get a lot of confidence from this win because it predicts my future,” Worku told BBC Sport Africa.
“Many of my friends like [Selemon] Barega, [Kenenisa] Bekele and Haile [Gebrselassie] have brought so much pride to Ethiopia and winning here means I am next in line following in their footsteps – I am very happy to know that my future is bright,” Worku added.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, South Africa’s Mire Reinstorf won gold in the women’s pole vault and Nigeria won gold in the 4x400m mixed relay with their quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Deborah Oke and Bamidele Ajayi setting a new championship record of 3 minutes 19.70 seconds.
Kenya hopes in 800m women race were shattered after Sheila Chepkosgei was disqualified for lane infringement at the ongoing World U20 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi.
Sheila who was a sure bet for gold as she had commanded her heat one race from start to finish has been denied to chance to proceed to semi-final. Brenda Chebet failed to keep her steam on as she had lead her her heat from the 200m splits to 600m split only to be passed over by Avery Person who took over 200m to finish to claim the pole position in 2:07.99 as the Kenyan finished in last position.