Cherotich shines as juniors race for tickets to Cali

Maureen Cherotich (left) and Zenah Cheptoo contesting in the 5000M women race final during World Athletics U20 Championships at the Moi International Sports Complex. Aug 22, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

South Rift’s Maureen Cherotich showed her class on day one of the Under-20 World Championships trials as the future stars descended on Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium yesterday seeking tickets to Cali, Colombia.

The two-day championship has attracted 415 athletes from 14 regions and Athletics Kenya (AK) will use event to pick a team to the global event slated on August 2-6.

At the last edition Kenya won the title with 16 medals; eight gold, one silver and seven bronze.

Cherotich, a Form Three student at Kalyet Secondary School in Kericho County clocked 15:14.26 in the women’s 5,000m  final to qualify for the global event ahead of Jane Gati, who clocked 15:50.55, with Deborah Chemtai closing the podium in 16:10.01.

“The race was good, the weather was favourable and my hope is to continue working hard and be able to win in Cali, I know the competition will come from Ethiopians and Ugandans runners but I will be prepare for them,” Cherotich said.

Gati, a Form Two student at Masongo Mixed Secondary School in Kisii County was satisfied with her second place slot: “Generally, it was a good race and I didn’t expect to be second considering I was in school most of the time,” Gati said. In the men’s  400m hurdles Peter Kithome who has already qualified for the junior championship timed 52.68 for victory ahead of Richard Nzioka (52.95) who also qualified for the Colombia championship. Geoffrey Rono settled for third in 55.31.

“I was among the lucky sprinters who went to Miramas in France for specialised training in April. I can say my technique has improved. 

“I expect to go faster than my current best time of 50.6, my target is 49.2,” Kithome said.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Rahab Wanjiru crossed the line in 1:03.49 ahead of Valentine Mokaya who timed 1:05.41 while Faith Cherotich sealed the podium in 1:05.43.

The 2021 World Under-20 Athletics Championships 10,000m race walk champion, Heristone Wanyonyi easily walked away to victory and promised to successfully defend his title in Cali.

Wanyonyi clocked 43:16.1 as Stephen Ndakili  finished in 44:16.3 in second place. Dominic Mwenda was third in 45:50.0.

With qualification time set at  43:50, Wanyonyi will be the sole representative in the event.

“I’m happy to have won the race and this will be my second time to represent Kenya in the global event and I hope to successfully defend my title,” Wanyonyi said after the race.