Hard at work, young Kibet aims to fill Zakayo’s shoes

Levy Kibet

Levy Kibet trains in Kapsabet, Nandi County on July 16, 2021.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • He will team up with Benson Kiplangat in 5,000m race in the global event which has attracted more than 120 member federations.

After making the Kenyan team for the 2020 World Under-20 Championships in the trials held at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, two weeks ago, Levy Kibet has stepped up training in Kapsabet, Nandi County.

He is among the 44 athletes expected to start training in a bio-secure bubble at Kasarani, as he aims to fill the shoes of reigning champion Edward Zakayo.

Zakayo won gold in the previous edition held in 2018 in Tampere, Finland where Kenya also topped the medal standings.

Speaking on Thursday in Kapsabet, Kibet said he has been doing speed work as he anticipates a tough challenge from Ethiopian athletes with a killer finishing kick.

“Having won the trials, my training has gone a notch higher. I am working on tactics in the final lap with a view to increase my finishing power because that’s where the Ethiopians beat us,” explained Kibet.

Kibet, a Form Three student at Kosirai High School, counts himself lucky to be training with senior athletes like the 2019 World Championships marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto whom he says has been guiding him.

He started running in 2019, the year he emerged third in secondary schools national championships in the 5,000m but failed to qualify for the East African School Games.

However, Kibet continued training. Last year, he came second in the Kenyan pre-trials at Nyayo National Stadium behind Gideon Rono.

“I was happy with my performance at the pre-trials and I wanted to become a champion in the distance. Having won at the trials, I want to improve on my time and run faster in the remaining days before we compete,” said Kibet.

The soft-spoken athlete from athletics-rich region of Kaptama in Mount Elgon, Bungoma County is eyeing a gold medal in the World Under-20 Athletics Championships next month. He is following on  the footsteps of his brother Evans Chematot who represents Bahrain in 3,000m steeplechase.

“Training is tough and whenever I feel like giving up, my brother Evans has always encouraged me to continue. He is my inspiration. I have reached this level due to his support,” added Kibet who has been guided in training by former 800m runner Janeth Jepkosgei and Italian coach Claudio Berraldeli.

He will team up with Benson Kiplangat in 5,000m race in the global event which has attracted more than 120 member federations.


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