Juniors primed for 400m glory at World U20 Championships

By Webster Nyandika
Friday, August 6th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Silvia Chelagat.

Kenya’s sole representative in the women’s 400m at the World Under-20 Championships Silvia Chelagat is exuded confidence to deliver a medal.

Chelangat is hoping to emulate her mentor and coach, former Olympics 800m silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei and hopes to use the 400m to launch her career in the 800m come next year.

The 17-year-old from Nakuru County met her mentor through school teacher Salome Mutai.

Her parents were surprised to learn that she was competing in athletics since no other family member in her family has ever shown interest in the sport.

“When Janeth used to run, I was quite young and didn’t know much about athletics.

Now she is my mentor and coach. I would like to compete in the 800m like her. She started with the 400m.”

“I didn’t know much about sprinting, for example how to set my blocks and how to use the curves to my advantage in most cases.

More often, I found myself infringing on my opponents’ lane and as you know this can be a very  costly mistake during competition,” said Chelagat who started as a footballer before moving to athletics.

Her counterparts in the men’s 400m Elkana Kiprotich and Kennedy Kimeu will also be eyeing a podium finish.

Kiprotich was drawn to athletics after watching two-time Olympics champion David Rudisha on television.

“A Kiwi advertisement that featured Rudisha is what attracted my attention to athletics.

It was after this that I started reading more about athletics in newspapers and embraced running while I was still in primary school,” said Kiprotich.

Sprints coach Andrew Maritim has been putting emphasis on how the athletes use the blocks, speed and reaction as the competition fast approaches. 

“I have been with the athletes for the last three weeks. They have been cooperative and quick to learn.

I have tried my level best with them to give them a chance to compete for the podium places,” said Maritim.

“We have been working on speed work, the reaction and acceleration before they run even how they are supposed to set their blocks.”

Webster Nyandika