Seventeen Kenyans launch the country’s medal hunt at the 10th and final IAAF World Under-18 Championships that commences at Kasarani Stadium today. Elijah Matayo, 17, will be first on the track in the boys’ 100m heats at 9:55am pitting himself against proven sprinters from Europe, Caribbean and enterprising African nations.
At 10:40am, Vivian Cheptoo will seek qualification in the girls’ discus and will be joined in the field events by Musyoka Muema, who will also be seeking qualification in the boys’ long jump, at 11:50am.
It is the first time in the championship’s history that Kenya is fielding athletes in these events. Dominic Kipkemboi and George Manangoi have a difficult task of emulating Kamari Taki in the boys’ mile considering the latter set championship records two years ago in Cali, Colombia.
Kipkemboi led Manangoi in the qualification race but will start today’s heats in separate races with an epic battle between them expected in the finals. The event starts at 10:50am.
Kenya could get her first gold in the day’s final event when Beatrice Chebet and Emmaculate Chepkirui take to the field in the girls’ 3,000m at 7:40pm.
The duo hope to overhaul Ethiopia from gold bracket after Shuru Bulo relegated Kenyans Emili Chebet and Sheila Chelangat to silver and bronze in the last edition.
Another duo of Mary Moraa and Sharon Jebet will attempt to upstage the sprint nations in the girls’ 400m heats which guns off at 11:20am Their male counterparts David Sanayek and Kelvin Sawe compete in the 400m heats which is the final event of the morning session at 12:05pm.
The afternoon session starts at 4:55pm with high jump where Kenya has no representation. Boys’ 100m semi-final then follows closely at 5:00pm with Kenya’s presence dependens on Matayo’s performance in the morning heats.
Musyoka Muema will return to the field but in a different event, triple jump, at 5:25pm, hoping to reach the finals in at least one. Victor Kiplimo will be on show in the boys’ 5kg hammer throw qualification at 5:30pm while the boys’ 800m heat start 10 minutes later.
Japheth Toroitich and Noah Kiprono are under pressure to retain Willy Tarbei and Davis Kiplangat’s gold and silver medals from the Cali edition two years ago.
At 6:15pm, Peninah Akoth has a chance to win Kenya a medal when she competes in the girls’ 3kg shot put while the girls’ 100m heats featuring Kenya’s Beatrice Onyango guns off at 6:45pm.