Chespol keen on second U-20 title

By Denis Okeyo: Friday, July 13th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Celliphine Chespol on her way to women's 3000m steeplechase heat on July 10, 2018 during the the IAAF World U-20 Championhips in Tampare, Finland. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Celliphine Chespol longs to retain her title in the water and barriers race final at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships inside Ratina Stadium today.

Having sailed through the qualifying rounds easily, Chespol stands out as the race favourite thanks to her 8:58.78 all-time mark -the world’s second fastest steeplechase time in history. She will marshal forces with World Under-18 silver medalist Mercy Chepkirui.

“I’m in top form. I know Peruth Chemutai of Uganda will offer strong challenge to us but we will team up to stop her,” said Chespol.

Ethiopia’s Etalemahu Sintayehu, who set her personal best of 9:52.92 in the heats, is also a potential podium finisher.

Africa cross country junior champion Mirriam Cherop and World Under-18 1500m bronze medalist Edinah Jebitok will line up in the heats.

The two will strive to stretch Kenyan dominance in the race, where they have posted four wins that started off in 2010 when Faith Chepng’etich chalked up victory in Moncton, Canada. They will square it out with Ethiopians Alemaz Teshale’s and Dinke Ferdesa.

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“I just want to qualify into the finals first. After that, we will unleash our winning formula on Sunday,” said Cherop.

Africa Junior 800m champion Solomon Lekuta and Ngeno Kipngetich, the two who boast sub1:46 this season, will fly the national flag in 800m heats today.

Lekuta clocked a hand-timed 1:45.4 in Nairobi after posting1:46.16 at the Commonwealth Games trials. Ng’eno has a personal best of 1:46.49, which he set after finishing second behind Lekuta in the national Under-20 trials in Nairobi last month. “I am under no pressure. It’s time for battle and ready for it,” said Lekuta.

They will slug it out with Ethiopia’s Tadese Lemi and Adisu Girma. Others are Belgium’s Elliott Crestan (1:47.1) and Spain’s Eduardo Romero (1:49.7).

Triple jumper Philip Musyoki will compete today in qualifying rounds.