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Under 20 championships: Kenyan Sprinter Sylvia Chelangat hopes to have the last laugh in 400m

WOMEN IN SPORTS By Dennis Okeyo | August 18th 2021
Kenyan sprinter Sylvia Chelangat. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya’s sole representative in women’s 400m, Sylvia Chelangat, hopes to progress to semi-finals as she takes on track in the event’s third heat at the World Under-20 Championships that begin today, at Kasarani Stadium.

With a Personal best of 55.21 Chelangat, hopes to emulate Mary Moraa’s achievement of winning a medal in the sprints during the 2017 World U18 Championships at Kasarani.

Moraa eventually used her triumph at the championships to launch her professional career.

Chelangat hopes to compete in 800m just like her mentor and coach, former Olympics 800m silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei.

“When she used to run, I was quite young and didn’t know much about athletics but now she is my mentor and a coach. I would like to compete in 800m just like her. She started with 400m before moving to 800m,” she said yesterday after her morning training session.

“This a proud moment for me to be running at the world stage for the first time. I believe I will run past heats.”

Chelangat was speaking at a press conference yesterday that was attended by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei, athletics ambassador David Rudisha and South African athlets (400m and 4x400m) Lythe Pillay, added:

Chelangat will face tougher opponents in the event including Imaobong Nse Uko, who only started representing Nigeria this year despite having dominated the women’s 400m on the domestic scene for the last three years.

Uko’s first two outings for Nigeria have been in relays, with the most recent being the Tokyo Olympics where she was part of the quartet that ran an African record of 3:13.60 in the mixed 4x400m.

Uko will be hoping to give a good account of herself as she competes in the individual 400m and boasts the fastest time in the field, 51.70, which she ran to win the National Sports Festival in April.

Polish sprinter Kornelia Lesiewicz is her country’s sole entrant in the women’s 400m. The Jamaican pair of Dejanea Oakley (52.51) and Oneika Mcannuff (52.54), who finished 1-2 at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Champs in Kingston, will also be in the mix.

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