Chepkirui, Jemutai through to 1500m final at WU20

Chepkirui, Jemutai through to 1500m final at WU20

@MutindaStano at Kasarani Stadium
Kenyans Winnie Jemutai and Purity Chepkirui Friday underlined their medal prospects in 1500 metres at the Nairobi World Under-20 Championships, after they stormed to the race finals set for Sunday.


Jemutai came second in the first heat clocking 4:26.47 behind Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji who crossed the finishing line with a timing of 4:26.26.

Welteji will be out to ensure the title remains in Ethiopia after Alemaz Samuel won in Finland three years ago.

In the second heat, Chepkirui was in control of the race from the gun and never looked troubled as she cruised into Sunday’s showdown clocking 4:22.10.

Speaking after the victory, Chepkirui said she had already set her sights on winning gold in the finals.

“My target was to qualify first and I managed it with a victory in my heat. Now the focus shifts to the finals and I want to win the gold medal here at home. It will be a big pleasure because this is my first elite event I’m participating in,” she said.

On his part, Jemutai said she was ready to shed Ethiopian’s challenge in the final.

“The race was competitive and I’m happy I qualified. The finals will be won tactically and I will ensure I get it right during the finals. Kenyans hopes are on us and we must make them proud,” said Jemutai.

Wambua shine

In the men’s 200 metres heats, Jonathan Wambua made his intentions clear of hoping to change perceptions that Kenya, known for its dominance in middle and long-distance running, cannot challenge for medals in the sprints.

Wambua, the sole Kenya’s representative in the race, qualified to the semi finals after placing third in heat 3 with a personal best of 21.43 behind Jamaican Bryan Levell and Taris Orogot.

Wambua who trains in Machakos believes he can spring a surprise in the race.

“We want to change the perception and with Kenya hosting, I’m very confident because the climate is favouring me. I want to run under 20 seconds in the semis.”

Meanwhile, Kenya’s sole representative in the women’s 200m race Loice Morara finished seventh in heat 1 and missed out on a place in the semi finals. The heat was won by Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia who clocked 23.23.

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