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It’s do-or-die as Kenyan stars chase World Under-20 slots

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | July 1st 2021
Athletes compete in 5000m during South rift region pre-trials for the world Under 20 championships at Kericho Green Stadium. [Standard Sports]

From south pole to north pole, the global athletics stage will shift attention to Kenya’s World Under 20 national trials that start Kasarani Stadium today.

Bruised egos, shattered dreams and, of course, new stars will be born as 494 junior athletes battle for tickets to the global event set for August 17-22 at the same venue.

The three-day event — from today to Saturday — will see a handful of athletes who competed in the 2017 Nairobi World Under 18 Championships lining up for another shot at the global stage.

Africa junior 3,000m champion Gideon Rono, Olympic Youth 3,000m silver medallist Agnes Jebet and Ismael Kirui are among top junior stars expected at the meet.

Jebet, 19, is a Form Four student at Kapkenda Girls High School in Keiyo South and she’s expected to compete in 3000m race.

Jebet won silver in 3,000m during the Youth Olympics in Argentina in 2018 before finishing second at the 2018 Africa junior Cross Country Champion in Algeria. She is also a two-time East Africa junior champion.

Rono, a Form Three student at Sinonin Secondary School in Baringo County, was in pure class on Saturday and longs a global title in Nairobi.

He will take on Victor Chepkwony, Vincent Omata and Isaac Kyalo in men’s 5000m battle as Victor Kipkirui and Vincent Keter line up in 1500m.

An exciting showdown will play out in women’s 800m where Sylvia Cheangat, a protégé of 2007 world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei, seeks to prove her mettle.

She will be up against North Rift’s Judy Jeruto and a legion of newcomers from Nairobi and South Rift regions.

North Rift’s Noah Kibet, who has posted an impressive 1:45.10 in 800m, is expected to light up Kasarani Stadium in the two-lap race.

He will team up with Samuel Korambu, Hazard Kibet, Richard Etir, Malnera Michael and Jonathan Kiprop as they face off with stars from South Rift, North Rift and Nairobi –regions that often stage good shows at the junior level.

South Nyanza, another seedbed of junior athletes in the country, will parade a quality field that features Eric Lerapan, Paniel Mogeni, Francis Charito, Abraham Nyayo and Castor Mogeni.

It will be interesting to see how Southern region –often billed as Kenya’s second home of athletics after Rift Valley –will perform.

Athletes compete in 5000m during South rift region pre trials for the world Under 20 championships at Kericho Green Stadium. [The Standard]

They have lined up Nelson Mandela, Philip Kilonzi, James Mwanzia, Stephen Muthini, Licky Kamina and Joseph Sila.

Stiff competition is also expected from Nyanza North region, where they have named a strong team of student athletes.

They include Ronald Mutai, Bernard Bii, Victor Otieno, Brian Otieno, Austin Omondi, and Titus Mbisei.

Meanwhile Reuben Mosin will lead other five top junior athletes

sponsored by betting firm, Bangbet Kenya, at the national trials.

The betting firm sponsored five athletes, who all qualified for the nationals led by Mossin, Evans Kipruto, who will compete in triple jump, long jump and 400m hurdles, Lydia Cheruiyot (3,000m), Franklin Kiptoo (3,000) and Shalyne Chemtai (3,000m steeplechase).

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