Some of the world’s top young distance-running talents were in action at the two-day Kenyan Junior Championships, which concluded in Nairobi on Wednesday (22).
Running in cold conditions and heavy rain, Rodgers Chumo defeated a strong field of more than 30 athletes to win the men’s 10,000m.
After a conservative start to the race with half way reached in 14:39.33, Japan-based Chumo, who finished 10th in the junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championship Guiyang 2015, decided to push the pace.
By 8000m, reached in 22:58.10, just three athletes remained in contention, but with one lap left it was clear that Chumo was destined for victory. After celebrating down the home stretch, the 19-year-old clocked 28:26.76 for the win, some 44 seconds shy of the PB he set last year.
African junior cross-country silver medallist Ronald Kiprotich overtook Mathew Kimeli in the last 300m to book his ticket for Poland, running 28:28.11 to Kimeli’s 28:30.76.
World youth champions shine
Three of Kenya’s world youth champions were victorious in Nairobi, putting them one step closer towards winning another global age-group title.
With many strong names in the men’s 1500m, the race played out to be a tactical affair. After the first 1000m was covered in 2:28.2, Edwin Kiptoo and Anthony Kiptoo increased the pace. World youth champion Kumari Taki tried to close the gap, but with 300m to go it looked like his two opponents would clinch the spots for Poland.
But Taki’s swift closing speed moved him up from third to first during the last 50 meters of the race, crossing the line in 3:38.8. Edwin Kiptoo ended up second in 3:39.0 while early leader Anthony Kiptoo faded to third in 3:39.5.
The final of the men’s 800m was a carbon copy of the morning semifinals with world youth silver medallist Kipyegon Bett front-running his way to a 1:44.4 victory.
Passing 600m in 1:17.5, Bett never looked back and won convincingly over world youth champion Willy Tarbei (1:45.2).
Both of Kenya’s world youth steeplechase champions won their specialist events in Nairobi.
Vincent Kipyegon and Amos Kirui put on a show in the men’s race. With a 60-second first lap and a 2:43.1 opening kilometre, they slowly broke up the field and built up a clear margin with more than three laps to go.
Kipyegon and Kirui exchanged the lead until the last 300m when Kipyegon decided to make his move and went away for the victory. Kipyegon clocked 8:22.7, barely missing the world U20 leading mark, while Kirui settled for second in 8:27.4. Philemon Ruto was third in 8:35.5.
Cellphine Chespol took a gun-to-tape victory in the women’s event, winning comfortably in 9:46.0. Her closest opponent, Betty Chepkemoi, was second in 10:03.2.
Elsewhere, steeplechase specialist Sandrafelis Chebet won the women’s 3000m flat in 9:02.0, comfortably beating world youth bronze medallist Sheila Chelangat by more than nine seconds.
Wesley Ladema won the 5000m in a solo 13:34.2. Youth Olympic bronze medallist Moses Koech got the second spot in 13:38.4 with Nicholas Kimeli finishing third in 13:44.4.
The women’s equivalent was won by Emmaculate Chepkirui in 15:42.4 over newcomer Catherine Syokau (15:44.0) who just egded Evaline Chelangat (15:44.2) on the line. Pre-race favourite Emily Chebet Kipchumba finished sixth in 16:33.4.
Youth Olympic silver medallist Winfred Mbithe won the women’s 1500m in 4:18.25, edging out a fast-finishing Joyline Cherotich (4:19.49) and African junior cross-country champion Miriam Cherop (4:21.21).
Betty Sigei Chepkemoi and Josphine Chelangat battled it out in the women’s 800m with Chepkemoi clocking 2:04.8 to finish 0.2 in front of Chelangat.
Kip Evans for the IAAF
1 Kipyegon Bett 1:44.4
2 Willy Tarbei 1:45.2
3 Wycliffe Kinyamal 1:46.8
1 Kumari Taki 3:38.8
2 Edwin Kiptoo 3:39.0
3 Anthony Kiptoo 3:39.5
1 Wesley Ladema 13:34.2
2 Moses Koech 13:38.4
3 Nicholas Kimeli 13:44.4
1 Rodgers Chumo 28:26.76
2 Ronald Kiprotich 28:28.11
3 Mathew Kimeli 28:30.76
1 Vincent Kipyegon 8:22.7
2 Amos Kirui 8:27.4
3 Philemon Ruto 8:35.5
1 Betty Sigei Chepkemoi 2:04.8
2 Josphine Chelangat 2:05.0
3 Lilian Odira 2:07.8
1 Winfred Mbithe 4:18.25
2 Joyline Cherotich 4:19.49
3 Miriam Cherop 4:21.21
1 Sandrafelis Chebet 9:02.0
2 Sheila Chelangat 9:11.6
3 Betty Chepkemoi 9:23.1
1 Emmaculate Chepkirui 15:42.4
2 Catherine Syokau 15:44.0
3 Evaline Chelangat 15:44.2
1 Cellphine Chespol 9:46.0
2 Betty Chepkemoi 10:03.2
3 Emily Chebet Kipchumba 10:10.6