No regrets for Chepkirui despite 3000m gold miss

Women 5000m winner, Emmaculate Chelangat being interviewed by the press after running 15:44.2 at the National ...
Women 5000m winner, Emmaculate Chelangat being interviewed by the press after running 15:44.2 at the National Trials for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Nairobi. PHOTO/AK

Emmaculate Chepkirui bagged Kenya’s first medal on the first day of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in the girls 3,000m flat finals.

Chepkirui added the second silver medal in her cabinet and was not disappointed that she did not manage to lower the U-18 record of 8:53.94 set by 5,000m Commonwealth Games Champion Mercy Cherono in Ostrava, 2007.

“I’m happy to have won the silver medal. I tried to break Cherono’s record but it was not possible, the Ethiopians were a challenge. The rains did not affect me though the three false starts were not good,” said Chepkirui.

The 17-year old Chepkirui added she will shift her focus to next year’s IAAF World Under 20 championships where she intends to upgrade her silver she won in Poland to gold in the girls 5,000m event.

Abersh Minsewo of Ethiopia took the top podium place in 9:24.62 while Chepkirui followed closely in 9:24.69. Yitayish Mekonone settled for the third spot in 9:28.46.

Chepkirui remained tacked in behind the leading pack and made a move to charge forward to the front after the bell went off. She put up a spirited fight but was overpowered by Minsewo at the home stretch.

Meanwhile Noah Kirono and Japheth Kibiwott Torotich also braved the rains and chilly weather experienced in the evening during the boys 800m qualification rounds. The two did not disappoint two-time Olympic and two-time World Champion David ‘King’ Rudisha who was keenly following the events unfold at the terraces having a light moment with athletes from Algeria.

Kiprono and Kibiwott advanced to Thursday’s semifinals despite the organisers halting the competitions for about 15 minutes due to the heavy downpour. Kiprono (1:54.10) finished third in heat three behind Juan Diego (1:53.19) of Costa Rica and Abdellah Mouzlib (1:53.22) of Morocco.

Kibiwott remained behind the leading pack until after the bell when he took charge of the race, crossing the finish line in a time of 1:53.9,  ahead of Moroccan Charaf Zahir (1:54.22) and Jan Vukovic (1:54.38) of Slovenia.

Kenya will not have a representative in the boys and girls 100m even after Elijah Onkwere Mathew and Beatrice Anyango bowed out the five day championships after a slow reaction.

The competitions will enter second day on Thursday as Lydia Jeruto and Jackline Wamboi seek to advance to the 800m semis, girls category.

David Saruni will try to follow the footsteps of Rio Olympics silver medalist Boniface Mucheru and World Champion Nicholas Bett’s in the boys 400m hurdles qualification rounds.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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