Jackline Chepkoech (left) and Faith Cherotich compete in women’s 3,000m steeplechase during national trials for World U20 championships. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Once again, Kenya faces a huge task of stopping the Ethiopians in today’s World under-20 women’s 3,000m steeplechase final.

Jackline Chepkoech and Faith Cherotich have a huge task of ensuring Kenya retains its respect and a place among the best in the traditional steeplechase race.

The Kenyans will need to be in their best shape when they come face-to-face with the strong Ethiopians in today’s final as they seek to defend the crown won by Celiphine Chespol in Tampere in 2018.

During the World under-20 athletics championships national trials, Chepkoech was on top of her game as she won in nine minutes, 32.99 seconds, while her training partner Cherotich came in second after clocking nine minutes, 33.02 seconds.

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“My ambition is to win this title. I am really confident especially with how I feel my body is and this will be the beginning of a good career for me,” said Chepkoech.

However, the growing strength of the Ethiopian steeplechase squad should be a worry to the Kenyas.

Ethiopia will parade Zerfe Wondemagegn, who holds a best time of 9:16.41, which she ran to finish eighth in the Tokyo Olympics.

Wondemagegn will have the company of Emebet Kebede, while Morocco, another distance powerhouse, have entered Soukaina Elhaji, who should also be in the shake-up for medals.

Hungary’s Greta Varga will lead the European charge.

The 17-year-old, who is a silver medallist at the European U20 Championships last month, has a best of 9:50.63.

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