Sports

Nelly Jepchirchir: Catch her if you can

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022 05:33 | By
Nelly Jepchirchir
800m Women race winner Nelly Jepchirchir in action during the World U-20 Championships trials held at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on July 2 2022.PHOTO/RODGERS NDEGWA.

National junior team head coach Robert Ngisirei has tipped upcoming athlete Nelly Jepchirchir to dominate the two lap race years ahead.

Coming at a time when the country has failed to win gold over the distance in both junior and senior levels, he sees Chepchirchir as the athlete to break the jinx, if she is moulded and taken good care of.“She is one for now and the future, she will definitely go far,” Ngisirei told People Sport aboutJepchirchir.

As she competes at the 2022 World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, the head coach has huge expectations of her.

“There is a certain level of confidence that she hasK Her composure, body movement and long strides put her in a class if her own,” added Ngisirei.

Jepchirchir is keen to follow in the footsteps of her mentor and coach, Janeth Jepkosgei, and having won gold during the 2019 Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Association (FEASSSA), the event is timely to add a global title.

As a junior athlete, Jepkosgei won gold medal in 800m at the 2002 World Athletics Junior Championships held in Kingston, Jamaica, then later graduated to the senior ranks and won gold medal at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan.

“I was ready to represent Kenya at a past Under 20 Championships but was ruled out because I was under age, I was 15 years then so everyone thought I was too young,” said Jepchirchir, claims that were collaborated by Athletics Kenya’s Director for Youth and Development, Barnabas Korir. “We had difficulties trying explaining to her entry eligibility criteria, World Athletics doesn’t is very strict with under age athletes just like they are with over age entries, Chepchirchir, was distraught,but we urged her to be patience, reminding her that her time will come, her time is now,” recalls Korir.

Fast forward to the 19th edition of the junior track and field championship that will be being held at the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium in Cali, southwestern Colombia, Korir easily picks the youngster as one athlete to watch.

“I am greatly impressed, I know and feel she will excel and propel her career,” he added.

Jepchirchir will team up with compatriot Evaline Chepkoech during the  Monday night preliminaries, but her focus on the the semi-finals which will be run from Tuesday 2.10pm (Kenyan time) and the final a day after.

“Our coaches have advised us why we need to take a race at a time and I don’t object, let’s just say I know my potential and I clearly know what I want,” she added.

At the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani where the team had been training from for three weeks when they were in residential camp,Chepchirchir credits the coaches for a job well done.

“We have practically trained in all aspects of the race. Our coaches have done everything possible to prepare us for the race. We will work together with Chepkoech so as to reach the final, and then try so that each of us can win something for ourselves,” explained the athlete, who sat her Form Four exams at St Francis Cheptarit Girls Secondary School in Mosiriot, Nandi County last year, said. 

The final will be run on Wednesday from 4.10pm.

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