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Cherotich, Wafula predict Kenya’s dominance in 3,000m steeplechase races at World Under 20

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022 03:35 | By
Faith Cherotich jumps over a hurdle in 3000m women steeplechase during Kip Keino Classic at Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/David Ndolo
Faith Cherotich jumps over a hurdle in 3000m women steeplechase during Kip Keino Classic at Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/David Ndolo

World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Faith Cherotich and newcomer Emmanuel Wafula are certain Kenya will retain the water and barriers title during the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia next month.

Last weeekned, the duo went through the national trials at the Nyayo National Stadium unscathed. Cherotich says she is determined to inherit the title held by Jackline Chepkoech who has since scaled up to the seniors. The world junior event is scheduled for August 1 to 6 in Cali, Colombia.

“I knew I had prepared well hence I was not under pressure. The tactics from my coach Bernard Rono, especially at the barriers, really worked,” said Cherotich, who is focused on nothing short of gold in Cali after taking bronze last year.

The form three student at Kalyet Secondary School in Kericho County, has world champion Beatrice Chepkoech as her role model says she wants a gold medal in what will be her last competition as a junior.

“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 who outclassed her opponents to win the race in 9:18.25.

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

In the men’s competition, Wafula, form three student at Chesito High School in Mt Elgon, Bungoma County wants to take over from Amos Serem whose progression to the seniors has been tremendous after winning the global title last year.

“I just had to pay for my disqualification last year during the trials with a good show here. Qualifying for Cali is such a good thing, I’m elated because I know God has answered my dreams, this will be a first of many,” said Wafula.

Entangled with a cocktail of challenges including poverty and home and lack of training facilities in Mt. Elgon, Wafula knows just how important it is to make to team Kenya.

“I want to thank my parents for having my back, supporting and encouraging me even when I could see it was beyond their means, I want to grab the chance with all I got knowing this is just the life I have been dreaming for,” said Wafula  who is inspired by former Olympic and world champion Ezekiel Kemboi.

At the same time, National team head coach Robert Ngisirei is optimistic Kenya has settled on the strongest and maybe one of the biggest contingents for the championship.

“Our target was to to have a team of at least 25 athletes, now we have 29, all top quality. I am happy we have a number of sprinters who had already secured qualification others had it at the trials. We also had hoped to see more qualify during the trials which happened, the standout being jumper Winnie Chepngetich who surprised everyone,” said Ngisire.

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