The rush for podium finish heightens Saturday as IAAF World Under 18 Championship ongoing at Kasarani Staduim enters its homestretch. Edna Jebitok and Rachael Nzangi carry Kenya’s hopes of reclaiming her lost glory in 1,500m by clinching the gold that evaded Joylene Rotich as she picked bronze and Janeth Chepngetich who finished outside the medal bracket in the previous edition won by Ethiopia’s Bedatu Hirpa in record breaking style, in Cali Colombia.
The two boast the fastest personal best times among the 13 finalists, Jebitok’s at 4:16.9 while Nzangi has 4:17.3. However they have close competition in Ethiopia’s duo of Lemlem Hailu and Sindu Girma trailing them at 4:20.36 and 4:20.75 respectively.
After their 6.35pm duel, they will pass the button to Noah Kiprono and Japheth Toroitich who qualified for the boys’ 800m finals on Thursday. Toroitich stopped the clock in 1:50.03 to finish second in heat two in a tachtical race won by Ethiopia’s Tolesa Bodena while Kiprono got lucky after qualifying as one of the two fastest finishers.
Kiprono had led from gun to the final 200m stretch where he fizzled out to finish fourth in the first heat. Toroitich looks better placed to inherit Willy Tarbei’s 2015 title but Kiprono says they are prepared to repeat Tarbei and Kipyegon Bett’s 1-2 podium finished in 2015.
Sensational Edward Zakayo and Stanley Mburu in the 3,000m will out to retain the title over the distance that has been dominated by Kenya on the last day of action where they have vowed to work together to deliver a 1-2 performance.
After qualifying for the finals in outstanding fashion 2,000m steeplechase runners Leonard Kipkemoi and Cleophas Kandie who finished first and second respectively in their individual heats are oozing confidence and have promised the best.
“Steeplechase is our race, we cannot let Ethiopians or other runners to win gold. We will do everything in our power to win and retain the title. My confidence is rising with each passing day and I believe I will run better in the finals,” said Kipkemboi.
Leah Nanjala and Dominic Ndingiti are also in action today in pursuit of podium finished in girls’ 5,000m and boys’ 10,000m walk respectively. Philemon Mopia, fresh from qualifying for the 200m semi-finals after finishing third in his heat will attempt to beat the experts at their own game vying for a finals spot. Evans Kipchirchir and Glaria Mulei will also be in action in boys’ High Jump and girls’ Triple Jump finals respectively.