Chepngetich looks to continue progress as World junior begins in Barcelona

Jul 09, 2012

Kenyan Faith Chepngetich with two World gold medal titles already in her possession remains very confident another is in the pipeline when competing at the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, which begins Tuesday at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium.

Chepngetich already a familiar name on the global athletics circuit after winning last year's World Junior Cross Country race barefooted then following it up with a victory at the Youth Championships four months later, comes to the Barcelona Championships with exceptional credentials.

The 18-year-old not only lowered her personal best to a very impressive time of 4:03.82 at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Shanghai in May, but emphasised her outstanding pedigree when placing third in the Kenyan Olympic Games trials.

That superlative display when speeding to an impressive mark of 4:08:53 in the high altitude rarified air of Nairobi against several older and more experienced opponents, guaranteed her a position in the National squad.

But before competing in London next month, the baby-faced looking girl is determined to raise her game by making the progressive transition from World Youth to Junior champion starting when her 1500 heat takes place on Friday morning.

"I'm happy to be here for the 1500 and they selected me for both the World Juniors and London Championships," she said of Athletics Kenya's confidence in her ability to represent her country with 100 per cent commitment at both venues.

"Her young age will not matter in London. She is a good runner, who on a good day can shock any experienced runner," said her coach Japheth Kipkiru.

Kipyegon a pint sized athlete should on paper dominate the race much easier than when defeating Ethiopia's Senberi Teferi for the younger age group crown in Lille 12 months ago by over a second with her speedy finish.

This season she holds the three of the six fastest times performed by a junior and her nearest rivals, team-mate Nancy Chepkwemoi and Teferi in Barcelona's 1992 Olympic Stadium are much slower this season with marks of 4:09.41 and 4:10.49.

Chepngetich played down a suggestion with her probably having to run sub-four minutes to get an Olympic medal, she might have a crack at the milestone barrier in Saturday's final.

The Nakuru native who will wear shoes on this occasion, insisted: "My personal best is 4:03 but I am sure that here I will run under 4:02."

Meanwhile the youngster with education a very important aspect of her life has packed schoolbooks so she can carry on studying before the two greatest athletics moments of her fledgling career.

Already the journey has encompassed winning a team gold medal at the 2010 World Cross, then the following year showing individual prowess with her World Cross success in Punta Umbra, Spain and on the track Lille in France.

With Kenya having won the World Junior 1500 gold medal on two past occasions with victories from Viola Kibiwott 10 years ago and Irene Jelagat in 2006, few will doubt that next weekend will see her achieve another major stepping stone en route to becoming a senior competitor and proving herself at the highest level.

Meanwhile, Brillian Kipkoech, 9th at the World cross country junior race last year and Mercy Chebwogen could bag Kenya's first medals at the six day championships in the women's 3000m final which will be followed with the men's 10000m.

Philemon Chemoi and Geoffrey Kirui will be the two Kenyan runners to watch here. Kenyans Daisy Jepkemei and Stella Rutto begins Kenya's chase for medals in the 3000m women steeplechase qualifying race, the opening event of the junior championships.

Dominic Mutili and Hillary Ngetich will also be looking to start off strongly in the heats of the men's 1500m while Agathah Kimwasai is the only contender in the women's 800m heats.

Sprinters Alphas Kishoyian and Boniface Mweresa will have their eyes on impressing the Olympic selectors when they line up for their 400m heat.

Kenya's squad in Barcelona 

MEN: Mike Mokamba (100m/200m), Duncan Nkaru (200m), Alphas Kishoyian, Boniface Mweresa (400m), William Mbevi, Francis Mutunga (400m Hurdles), Edwin Kiplagat, Timothy Kitum (800m), Dominic Mutuku, Hillary Cheruiyot (1500m), Conseslus Kipruto, Gilbert Kirui (3000m steeplechase), William Malel, Justin Kiprop (5000m), Philemon Cheboi, Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui (10000m)

 WOMEN: Agatha Jeruto (800m), Faith Chepngetich (1500m/3000m), Nancy Chepkwemoi (1500m), Mercy Chebwogen (3000m), Daisy Chepkemei, Stella Ruto (3000m steeplechase), Caroline Chepkoech, Agnes Chebet (5000m).


Compiled from Iaaf