National under-20 coach Robert Ng’iserei anticipates Kenya to end a ten-year skid in the women’s 3,000m without winning gold.
On Day One of the six-day Championships on Monday, the 3,000m women’s race will be the first final of the World Under 20 Championships, starting at 4:15 pm.
Ng’isirei, who has led the junior team to multiple worldwide competitions, where they have consistently placed first in the medal standings, expressed confidence that the lengthy wait will be over soon.
“I have been evaluating my athletes on a regular basis, and they are not far from the winning classes of a few years ago. I would say they are on pace with, if not somewhat ahead of, the rest of the world’s athletes, said Ng’isirei.
Mercy Chebwogen won the gold medal in the women’s 3,000m race at the 2012 edition of the competition in Barcelona he recalls.
Kenya will be banking on Teresia Muthoni and Zena Jemutai, who are based in Japan, to restore parity that has been missing for nearly a decade.
“We have not had as many talented athletes as we do currently in the event. Training has gone well, and I believe we will have a strong start on Day One, which will boost morale among the rest of the team,” he added.
Muthoni and Jemutai qualified for the junior championship by defeating difficult opposition at last month’s national trials at Kasarani Stadium.
Muthoni, who came to the country for the trials after graduating from Serra High School in Japan, surprised the field by winning in 8:51.69 over Jemutai, who finished in 8:55.75.
Kenya will be represented in the men’s 1,500m on Day One of the championships, with Vincent Keter and Kamar Etiang vying for a spot in the men’s final on Thursday.
The men’s 5,000m, the concluding event of Day One, will also feature Levi Kibet and Benson Kiplangat, and Ngisirei feels optimistic about their chances.
Meanwhile Safaricom yesterday announced a Sh66.5 million sponsorship for the World Athletics Under 20 Championships. It will cater for internet during the entire event.