Faith Chepng’etich once again proved to the world that she is one of the finest track athletes of our time when she stormed to victory in the women’s 1500m finals last week retaining her title in a new Olympic record time of 3 minutes 53:11 seconds.
Chepng’etich’s commanding victory will no doubt serve as an inspiration to upcoming athletes set to represent Kenya at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships next week.
She represented Kenya at the 2012 World Youth Championships held in Barcelona, Spain where she won the 1500m event.
Youngsters Winnie Jemutai and Purity Chepkirui will represent Kenya in the 1500m event during the World Under-20 Championships at Kasarani from August 17-22 where they hope to follow in the footsteps of Chepng’etich.
The duo will be seeking to reclaim the 1500m title won by Ethiopian Alemaz Samuel in 4:09.67 during the last edition in Tampere. Kenya’s Miriam Cherop settled second in 4:10.73 while Switzerland’s Delia Sclabas finished third in 4:11.98.
Jemutai attributes her talent to her father Micah Boinett who is a former 3,000m steeplechase athlete and has always inspired to go for the best.
The 18-year-old who hails from Burnt Forest in Uasin Gishu County wants to advance in the 5,000m and be like her role model world champion Helen Obiri.
“I love watching races and getting tips on what to do and when to react. That’s how I got interested in 1500m race and this is just the beginning for me. I’m looking forward to compete well just like Hellen Obiri and Faith Chepng’etich,” said Jemutai.
The heats will begin on August 20 and Jemutai insists making the final will determine Kenya’s chances of entering the medal bracket.
“The most important thing is to make sure we qualify for the finals and that means we give our best in the heats, then to the semi-finals and later finals so that we can plan on how to bag the medals,” added Jemutai.
On her part, the 18-year-old Chepkirui who hails from Tiloa village in Kuresoi, Nakuru County is elated to have made the Kenyan team and just like Jemutai is focused on bagging gold.
Her maiden opportunity to represent Kenya in an international event went up in smoke following the postponement of Africa Cross Country Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic. She was due to participate in the 6km junior category.
“I’m glad because I have another chance to represent my country and my preparations so far have been good. We are just waiting to implement what we have been doing for the last three months,” said Chepkirui, a Form One student at Tiloa Mixed Secondary School.
She is also happy that life is slowly getting back to normal after Covid-19 disrupted lives of athletes due to cancellation of various meets.
“I was worried about Covid-19 pandemic because we were out of competition since last year but normalcy is coming back and this is a good opportunity to grow my talent,” she said.