Africa under-18 2,000m steeplechase silver medallist Haron Kibet from Silibwet and Chewoyet’s Amos Serem fired early shots to win their men’s 3,000m steeplechase heats with the fastest time at the pre-trials for the World Under-20 Championships on Saturday.
Eager to get the ticket for the world junior competition due August 17 to 22 next year at Kasarani, Kibet took the Nyayo National Stadium’s red tartan track by storm, to win in eight minutes and 43.7 seconds.
Kibet exchanged the leads with James Mwanza from Southern before pulling away at the bell to triumph as Mwanza settled second with the fourth fastest time in 8:52.8. Ronald Kipngétich from South Rift was third in 9:05.5.
“I came prepared for this race that proved competitive enough,” said Kibet, who is handled by coach John Kimetto.
“My focus is now on upping my game especially at the hurdles and water jump before the final trials in April next year. I want to represent the country again, and this time around, to win gold at home,” explained Kibet, a great admirer of the two-time Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, who also won the world title four times over the distance.
Serem, who trains in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet, also exchanged leads with Bomet’s Emmanuel Kiprop before winning the second heat with the second fastest time of 8:44.4.
Kiprop timed 8:46.4 to rank him third overall as Kiplangat Rotich settled third in the heat with the fifth fastest time of 8:59.9.
“I didn’t scale the hurdles well but I hope to improve before the final trials in April. I am hungry to represent Kenya for the first time,” said Serem.
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North Rift’s Dorothy Kimutai clocked 10:04.4 to reign supreme in women’s 3,000m steeplechase, beating Edna Chepkemoi from Keringet in 10:05.0, in a hotly contest race that had only one heat.
Nyanza’s Bettey Chelangat eased home in third place in 10:16.6.
Noah Kibet from Trans Nzoia from the master in the two-lap race, posting the fastest time in 1:47.1, beating Southern’s Emmanuel Lemama, who posted the second fastest time of 1:49.2 in heat one.
Emmanuel Mutua from Southern stunned Africa Under-18 800m silver medallist, Kericho’s Kenneth Kirui to win the fifth heat in 800m with the third fastest time of 1:49.4. Kirui clocked 1:49.6, a time that was ranked fourth fastest.
Stephen Nasindet (Mogonga) and Emmanuel Wanyonyi (Nandi) won the third and fourth heats in 1:50.8 and 1:50.1 respectively.
Athletics Kenya Youth Committee will analyse the results and the issue of age before coming up with a team that will prepare for the World Under-20 Championships.
Youth Committee director Barnaba Korir said they expect to name a maximum of 80 athletes on Monday after the committee meeting at Riadha House.
Korir said they plan to have a specialised training for sprints and field events in December where they will train a bubble with some of the country’s best coaches.