Africa U-18 champion Zena Jemutai Yego and Japan-based Teresia Muthoni are ready to deliver top two finished for Kenya in women’s 3000m at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships set for August 17-22 at Kasarani Stadium.
During the 2019 African U18 and U20 Athletics Championships, held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Zena clocked nine minutes, 13.23 seconds ahead of compatriot Deborah Chemutai 9:13.42 to claim a 1,2 finish as Ethiopian Berheteha Amare finished third in 9:14.72.
The 19-year-old from Elgeyo Marakwet, narrowly missed a chance to compete at home soil during the World Under-18 Championships held in Nairobi in 2017 after finishing third during the trials.
Kenya was represented by World cross country U20 champion Beatrice Chebet and Immaculate Chepkirui.
She, however, represented Kenya in the World U20 Championships held in Tampere, Finland in 2018, where she finished fifth (9:00.76) as Nozomi Tanaka (8:54.01) of Japan, won gold while Meselu Berhe (8:56.39) and Tsigie Gebreselama (8:59.20), both of Ethiopia, won silver and bronze respectively.
“Though I failed to make Team Kenya during World U18, it did not discourage me. I went home, stepped up my training and I was able to book my ticket to Finland,” said the 18-year-old Jemutai.
“I finished fifth but that was still progress for me. My patience paid off when I won gold in Ivory Coast. I will be banking on my experience for a podium finish at the World U20 event.”
Her teammate Teresia Muthoni, who recently graduated from Sera High School, will be aiming to lower her personal best (PB) during the biennial event.
“I used to participate in races while in school. Every victory motivated me to push myself further. My target in this competition will be to lower my personal best of 8:51.00 as I eye a podium spot,” said Muthoni.
“When I graduate to senior level, I will compete in the 5,000m and later on, advance to 10,000m race like what two-time Olympics silver medallist and World champion Hellen Obiri did.”
The World Athletics U20 Championships is a biennial world championships organised by the World Athletics, contested by athletes in the under-20 athletics age category.