3000m runner Zenah Jemutai leads her teammates in past training. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

Africa Under-18 3,000m champion Zenah Jemutai is keen to represent her country and bag a medal when she lines up for the World Under-20 Championships scheduled for August 17-22 in Nairobi.

After qualifying in a competitive race during the National Under-20 Trials, Jemutai said she will dedicate the remaining few weeks to improve on her final lap.  “I want to improve on my speed especially in the final lap that has been my major challenge,” she said.

Jemutai has been sharpening her skills at Kapsait Athletics Training Camp in Elgeyo Marakwet, where she boasts of training with some of the best athletes in the world including world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei.

The Form Two student was forced to transfer to Korongoi High School after Kapsait Secondary School was closed by Eric Kimaiyo, who doubles up as director and coach, due to lack of funds.

Jemutai participated in the last edition of the championship, where she was the sole athlete from Kenya in the 3,000m race after her compatriot Mercy Chepkorir was left out due to anomalies in her passport.

She managed to finish the race in fifth position place, clocking a personal best time of 9:00.76 after a spirited fight in a race won by Japanese Nozomi Tanaka in 8:54.01.

During National U-20 Trials, Jemutai came in second in the 3,000m race behind Japan-based Teresia Muthoni; automatically qualifying for the championships.

“I had a good time running in the 3,000m race at the junior level and I expect no hindrances in making the podium. I will try to use the experience I gained during the World Junior Championships in 2018 in Tampere, Finland. This is a championship and I need to work hard and deliver a medal for my country,” said Jemutai.

3000m runner Zenah Jemutai takes ice bath after finishing fourth during the finals on July 12, 2018 in Tampare, Finland. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

The 19-year-old further said that training with seniors like Brigid Kosgei and Turkey’s Yasemin Can among other athletes has given her psyche ahead of the junior show.

“The senior athletes like Brigid and Yasemin have always guided me on how to prepare and I’m sure I will not come home empty handed. I’m happy the event will be held at home (Kenya) and my target is to win the event,” added Jemutai.

She said this will be her last year in junior cadre and her focus is to graduate in style as she looks forward to an exciting career in the senior category.

“It is a competitive event and I understand athletes from other countries like Ethiopia and Uganda might pose a challenge but I want to graduate to the senior category in style and that means winning,” concluded Jemutai.

Jemutai is among the 46 athletes who will be converging at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani a bubble for one month before The World Under-20 Championships.

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