Team Kenya lands in Cali, ready to conquer world again

World Under 20 Athletics Championships

From left:  Peter Kithome (400m), Winnie Chepng'etich (triple jump and long jump) and Alocious Kipngetich training on July 29, 2022 at Moi International Sports, Centre, Kasarani ahead of the World Athletics Under 20 Championships.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya go into the championships as the defending champion after winning 16 medals in the last edition held in Nairobi last year.
  • A total of 1,517 athletes and 852 officials from 141 countries will be in the 'Sultana del Valle' for the championships.

Team Kenya on Saturday landed in Cali, Colombia for the World Under-20 Championships which get underway on Monday.

Kenya go into the championships as the defending champion after winning 16 medals in the last edition held in Nairobi last year.

A total of 1,517 athletes and 852 officials from 141 countries will be in the 'Sultana del Valle' for the championships.

Kenya's team manager Joseph Ilovi is confident that they will do well and retain the overall title.

“The team is good and they are in high spirits ahead of the games. We are happy that we are represented in most of the races and we shall be praying for them to perform well though we know competition is stiff,” said Ilovi.

The Kenyans have a battle at hand in most of the races they won in Nairobi last year.

Ethiopia’s Ermias Girma, 17, arrives at the championships with the best time of 1:44.36 this season in 800 metres and will be out to stop Kenyans in their tracks as they seek to defend the title won by Emmanuel Wanyonyi last year.

The 800m heats kick-off on Monday at 9.08pm Kenyan time.

Noah Kibet, who took bronze last year, has the second fastest time of 1:44.88 and will be seeking to use his experience in the two-lap race from the just concluded World Championships in Oregon where he failed to go past the semi-finals.

Kibet will will team up with Dominic Kiptoo who has a personal best time of 1:47.34.

Kiptoo, a Form three student at Andersen High School in Trans Nzoia, said that he is in good shape.

“Training went on well and we are going into the championships confident of doing well after the six days are over. I’m going into the race to learn and at the same time perform well and make my country proud,” Kiptoo told Nation Sport.

The 1,500m men’s heats on Monday evening will feature Reynold Cheruiyot, who is the fastest in the field with personal best of 3:34.02, while his compatriot Daniel Kimaiyo has clocked 3:36.09. The duo will be hoping to retain the gold won by Vincent Keter last year.

Kenya will also be hoping to retain the 5,000m gold medal won by Benson Kiplangat and Samuel Kimathi and Nelson Mandela are mandated to make sure the title remains at home.

Emmanuel Wafula and Haron Kibet will be flying Kenya’s flag in the 3,000m steeplechase. Amos Serem won gold for the country in last year's championship in Nairobi.

In the men's 3,000m, Edwin Kimosong and Felix Korir will be seeking to win a medal in the race after Ethiopians locked Kenya out of the podium in the last edition of the event.

Herristone Wanyonyi wants to defend his historic gold in the 10,000m race walk while his compatriot in the women category Margaret Gati will be out to win a medal.

Other races that Kenya will be seeking to retain titles include 1,500m where Purity Chepkirui will be defending her title, 3,000m steeplechase women where bronze medallist Faith Cherotich will be teaming up with Pamela Kosgei in a bid to  retain the title won by Jackline Chepkoech.

Betty Chelangat and Nancy Cherop will been keen to emulate Teresiah Muthoni's exploits in 3,000.

Winny Chepng’etich will be the sole representative in the field events and will be competing in the triple jump and long jump.

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