AK boss Tuwei warns Cali team against complacency

Monday, July 4th, 2022 09:36 | By
Jack Tuwei
Jack Tuwei. PHOTO/Courtesy

Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei (pictured) has warned team Kenya to the World Under 20 Championships to be held in Cali, Colombia on August 1-6 not to be complacent as many countries will be aiming to dethrone them.

With reigning 1500m champion Purity Chepkirui and 10,000m walking holder Herristone Wanyonyi and several medallists leading the 29-member squad, the AK boss was full of praise.

“I congratulate you for working hard and making the team. We wish you well in your training and urge you to prepare adequately since any global championship is very competitive,” Tuwei said at the end of the two-day national trials held at the Nyayo Stadium where over 400 participated.

With Kenya having won two championships in a row; Tampere, Finland in 2018 and successfully retaining their title on home soil in 2018 , he noted Cali will be the biggest challenge.

“They are preparing to take your titles,” he said.

“When you hear anything that has to do with ‘world’, it is not as simple as you think. Everyone has prepared well; they know you’re the defending champions and they will be coming for you so you need to be prepared. Listen and work closely with your coaches to prepare well,” he noted.

Chepkirui who will be competing in the championships for a second successive year secured victory after timing 4:08.08 ahead of Brenda Chebet who finished second in 4:08.41 to also seal a spot in the Kenyan contingent.

“I came here not feeling well but I am glad I have secured victory. My target is to defend my title in Cali before I shift to the senior ranks,” said Chepkirui who recently bagged a silver medal at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships.

Faith Cherotich who earned bronze in the 3000m steeplechase last year dominated the water and barrier race as she outclassed her opponents to win the race in 9:18.25.

“For sure it was not a very competitive race and that is why I won comfortably. I believe I can go to Colombia and win a gold medal. I already know the opponents I am expecting there and I will prepare accordingly,” said Cherotich.

Cherotich will team up with Diana Chepkemoi who came home a distant second in 9:45.47.

Noah Kibet who also bagged bronze in 800m was awarded a direct ticket to the championship despite not competing and will form a partnership alongside Brian Kiptum who won the two-lap race in the trials.

World 400m bronze medallist Sylvia Chelangat and Damaris Nduleve will lead Kenya’s charge in the women’s 400m.

Nduleve edged Chelangat as both athletes secured tickets for the global showpiece.

“I did not expect to beat Sheila but I am happy because we have both qualified. We are going to help each other and push for a podium finish,” said Nduleve.

In the corresponding men’s race, Elijah Chemelil reigned supreme after hitting a new personal best mark. He will now team up with Samuel Toili.

“Last year I didn’t make it to the finals. I have learnt my lessons and I hope to put in a good show in Cali,” he said.

Reigning world 5000m champion Benson Kiplangat dropped out in a race won by Samuel Kibathi who clocked 13:47.6 as Shadrack Rono timed 13:49.6 to finish second-d. The duo made the cut in the 12 and-half-lap race.

Kapsabet-based Nelly Jepchirchir was the winner in the women’s 800m as she clocked 2:02.66 with Everyone Chepkoech coming home second in 2:04.90

“I thank my coach Janeth Jepkosgei for the advice she gave me that has really improved my performance. My target in Colombia is to win a medal for Kenya,” she said.

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