Cali champs Chepteek, Taki in bright IAAF U20 starts
World Youth champion, Celliphine Chepteek Chespol underlined her intentions to add the global junior crown to her collection by booking her slot in the women 3000m steeplechase final by winning her heat as the IAAF World Under 20 Championships got underway in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Tuesday.
Another Cali 2015 IAAF World Youth gold medallist, Kumari Taki also made it through to the men 1500m semi final by taking his preliminary round showdown that was the slowest of the opening round.
Running in the second heat, Chepteek claimed an emphatic victory in the second head in nine minutes, 55.21 seconds after pulling well clear of closest challengers, Ethiopia’s Asimarech Naga (10:05.71) and Anna Emilie (10:06.26) of Denmark who followed her home in second and third.
She remained on track to ascend to the middle step of the podium after bagging gold medal in Colombia last year by leading Sandrafelis Chebet Tuei to the Kenyan 1-2 in the girls’ 2000m steeplechase.
Compatriot Betty Chepkemoi also sailed through to the medal race after chasing Ethiopian born Bahraini Tigist Getnet all the way to the line, with the pair separated only by the photo finish in favour of the latter.
Both were credited with 9:54.65, a lifetime best for the Kenyan with Ethiopian Agrie Belachew also rewarded with a personal best in third (9:54.84) in the flying finish to the race.
In the men 1500m first round, Taki who won the World Youth title on the same day as Chepteek ran 3:47.14 for victory with pretty much in reserve as Serbian Elzan Bibic (3:47.72) and Jordi Torrents from Spain (3:47.80) trailed him across the line for the big ‘Q’ from heat 2.
In 2015, Taki also won the Africa Youth and Youth Olympics Games titles to emerge the winner of the Male Young Sports Personality of the Year winner at both the Soya and AK Golden Gala awards.
Countryman Anthony Kiptoo (3:44.74) also made the penultimate competition despite being beaten to second by Morocco’s Ayoub Sniba (3:44.59) in the much quicker first heat of competition.
Betty Chepkemoi Sigei who crashed out of the heats in Cali last year is determined to challenge for the medals this time round after leaving nothing to chance when taking her women 800m heat in 2:10.96.
It was the slowest of the five preliminary events that saw her winning mark ranked 26th overall. Ireland’s Louise Shanahan (2:11.00) and Esther Chebet from Uganda (2:11.18) also made it through.
It was a good morning all round after countrywoman Josephine Chelangat earlier ran the second quickest time of the women’s two-lap competition of 2:05.69 to secure passage to the semis in a race won by Ethiopia’s Tigist Ketema in 2:05.51.
Later Tuesday, Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi who was 10th in the men junior 8km race at last year’s IAAF World Cross in Guiyang, China and first timer Ronald Kiprotich Kirui will be in the hunt for the country’s first medals in the men 10000m final.
The Kenyan team arrived in Poland on Monday night and were all subjected to dope testing with the World Anti-Doping Agency and governing body, IAAF placing the country in the red list following a spike of cases involving proscribed substances among the country’s athletes.
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