After easing their way into the men’s 1500m finals on Thursday, Kenya’s duo of Kamar Etiang and Vincent Keter are now plotting podium sweep in today’s finals of the race at the ongoing World Athletics U20 Championships at Kasarani Stadium.
Keter, running on a rain-soaked track, he signaled his medal intention when he strode to 3:42.35 victory in heat one ahead Ethiopia’s Melkeneh Azize who finished second in 3:44.81 as Abderezak Suleiman of Eritrea was placed third in 3:47.8.
Keter will be in the company of Etiang who hopes to put Tokyo Olympic Games disappointment behind him and extend Kenya’s dominance in the race.
Etiang was dropped from the Summer Games squad after he failed to meet the anti-doping requirements as stipulated by the Athletics Integrity Unit.
And with a point to prove, Etiang dictated the pace of his heat, crossing the line in 3:44.75 with Wegene Addisu (3:44.86 ) of Ethiopia in hot pursuit.
Just like Etiang, Keter, who hails from the same village with world champion cum training mate Timothy Cheruiyot in Silibwet, Bomet County wants to carve a niche of his own in when he transitions to senior competitions, says he is ready to prove his dominance in the junior ranks is no fluke.
“It feels great to be in the final. In the heat, it was an easy win for both of us (Keter and Etiang). This is going to be a totally different race all together, but we are going deploy teamwork strategy to ensure we give Kenya 1-2 finish. Individually, I want to mark my final transition to senior ranks by winning gold medal,” said Keter, the Africa U20 1500m champion. After putting behind the 4x400m mixed relay mishap on the opening day of the championships to storm into the women’s 400m final, Kenya’s sole representative Sylvia Chelangat has equally set her eyes on gold medal in today’s final.
Chelangat was among the quartet in the mixed relay team that was disqualified from the mixed relay race for lane infringement, despite finishing in an automatic qualifying second place.
“I’m glad that I not only made it to the final, but I achieved a personal best of 53.49. Now my next target is the podium finish. The medal will really motivate me as I hope to step into 800m competition just like my idol and trainer Janeth Jepkosgei who started off by competing in 400m before moving to 800m,” said Chelangat.
Kennedy Kithome will also feature in the men’s 400 final today.
In other action featuring the Kenyans, Noah Kibet and Emmanuel Wanyonyi, another product of Janeth Jepkosgei’s training camp, will be looking forward to extend Kenya’s dominance in the men’s 800m when they both battle in the semifinals with the hopes of qualifying for tomorrow’s finals.
Wanyonyi led from start to finish in his heat three in 1:46.51.