Robert Biwott on his way to winning the 1500m at the 2013 Kenyan World Youth Trials (© Jonah Onyango, The Standard)
Kenya will send 20 athletes to sustain the country’s proud tradition at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine following the conclusion on Wednesday (12) of the two-day selection event in Nairobi.
There were some surprises at the Nyayo National Stadium too as World junior champions Mercy Chebwogen (3000m) and Daisy Jepkemei (Steeplechase) were relegated to runner-up positions.
The meeting also witnessed the disappointment of 400m hurdler Geoffrey Kipkoech and 400m sprinter Anastasia Kanini who posted qualifying times when winning their respective events, but were not selected for Donetsk.
The Kenyan squad that has been named, after thorough vetting, will report for a two-week training camp in Nairobi next Friday (21) before departure on July 5 for the global showpiece.
Chebwogen and Jepkemei meet their match
It’s rare for Kenyan junior stars to get beaten before they graduate to the senior ranks, but after scaling the heights in Barcelona last year, Mercy Chebwogen and Daisy Jepkemei will arrive in Ukraine with a lot to ponder as they seek to add World Youth gold medals to their collection.
Chebwogen, who last year struck her country’s first World junior gold over 3000m, failed to re-enact her last 200m burst from Barcelona as little-known Lilian Kasait prevailed in the dash for the finish line in 9:11.70 against 9:12.0. World junior 5000m bronze medallist Agnes Chebet was never in contention as her Ukraine hopes ended.
Similar fate befell steeplechaser Jepkemei who was led to the altar by Roseline Chepngetich, one of the stars of the local Cross-Country Series earlier in the year.
With the final water jump done, the eventual winner – who has a career best of 16:07.0 for 5000m and decided to test her prowess over the barriers race for the first time – closed in for victory in 6:12.0 with the Barcelona winner coming in a distant second in 6:27.7.
Biwott eyes world domination
After winning the 800m and 1500m double at the inaugural Africa Youth Championships in Warri earlier this year, Robert Biwott underlined his credentials as one of the possible headliners in Donetsk when he won an exciting 1500m final in 3:38.5.
Titus Kipruto (3:39.7) finished second in the mad scramble for the second berth as Warri silver medallist Patrick Kiprotich and bronze winner Patrick Rono fell by the wayside.
Kenya will also be represented in Donetsk by four sprinters in the shape of Geoffrey Kiprotich and Stanley Kitei, who clocked 21.73 and 21.85 respectively in the 200m.
Ian Mutuku (47.40) and Alex Sampao (47.70) – who is plotting to establish a career path similar to 800m World record-holder David Rudisha – will also be on the plane to Donetsk after clinching the top two places in the 400m.
Sampao hails from Trans Mara, the region that has produced the likes of Rudisha, former double World champion Billy Konchellah and Olympic medallist William Yiampoy.
Having clocked 51.3 to beat the Donetsk standard of 55.80 in the boys’ 400m Hurdles final for a crushing victory, Geoffrey Kipkoech from Nairobi’s Riruta Satellite School broke down when Athletics Kenya elected not to select him in the team.
Schoolmate Anastasia Kanini, who won the girls’ 400m in 56.60, also wept when selectors didn’t choose her.
Elsewhere, Vedic Cheruiyot was a clear winner of the 3000m in 7:52.0, the fastest time in the world this year by a youth athlete.
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF
1 Geoffrey Kiprotich 21.73
2 Stanley Kieti 21.85
3 Josphat Ngeno 22.43
1 Ian Mutuku 47.40
2 Alex Sampao 47.70
3 Evans Rono 47.72
4 Geoffrey Kiprotich 48.04
1 Alfred Kipketer 1:46.2
2 Patrick Rono 1:46.6
3 Weldon Ngetich 1:48.7
4 Joshua Masikonde 1:51.0
1 Robert Biwott 3:38.5
2 Titus Kipruto 3:39.7
3 Kennedy Cheruiyot 3:50.7
4 Gilbert Kwemboi 3:53.4
1 Vedic Cheruiyot 7:52.0
2 Alexander Mutiso 7:59.1
3 Daniel Kipkemboi 8:02.3
4 Justin Moseti 8:08.4
1 Geoffrey Kipkoech 51.3
2 Titus Mutua 52.0
3 Erick Kiptoo 52.2
1 Kiptanui Bett 5:29.2
2 Justus Kipkorir 5:31.6
3 James Ndiwa 5:40.5
4 Vincent Kipyegon 5:41.4
1 Anastasia Kanini 56.60
2 Dorothy Chepkosgei 57.01
1 Agnes Mulee 2:06.8
2 Jarinter Mawia 2:07.3
3 Vivian Jepkemei 2:07.6
1 Irine Chepkemoi 4:19.7
2 Eunice Lucia 4:20.2
3 Margaret Marinjo 4:22.0
4 Gloria Jebiwott 4:23.2
1 Lilian Kasait 9:11.7
2 Mercy Chebwogen 9:12.0
3 Valentine Chepkwemoi 9:15.3
4 Loise Chemnung 9:26.3
1 Roseline Chepngetich 6:12.0
2 Daisy Jepkemei 6:27.7
3 Stella Ruto 6:33.8
Kenyan team for Donetsk 2013
200m: Stanley Kieti, Geoffrey Kiprotich
400m: Ian Mutuku, Alex Sampao
800m: Alfred Kipketer, Patrick Rono
1500m: Robert Kiptoo Biwott, Titus Kipruto
3000m: Vedic Kipkoech Cheruiyot, Alexander Mutiso
2000m Steeplechase: Kiptanui Bett, Justus Kipkorir
800m: Jarinter Mawia, Agnes Mulee
1500m: Irene Chepkemoi, Eunice Lucia
3000m: Mercy Chebwogen, Lilian Kasait
2000m Steeplechase: Roseline Chepngetich, Daisy Jepkemei