NAIROBI, July 9 – Sixteen year old Nelly Chebet gave Kenya her first medal at the ongoing World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz when she finished third in the women’s 5,000 metres on Tuesday night.,
The form two Riruta Secondary School student outsprinted fellow countrywoman Lucy Kamene Muia to win bronze in a time of 16:17.96 in a race won by Ethiopia’s Sule Utura, who edged out pre race favourite Genzebe Dibaba in 16:15.59.
The younger Dibaba had to be content with silver in a time of 16:16.75 with Kamene, who was representing the country for the first time, coming in fourth in 16:25.04.
Utura’s win means she joined the likes of Ayelech Worku, Meseret Defar and Meselech Melkamu as the fourth Ethiopian to win a World Junior gold medal in the women’s 5000m. It was her first international title after her 3000m World youth bronze in Ostrava last year and a fourth place finish at the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa.
“I was happy with the slow pace early in the race. I had confidence in my finishing speed. I knew one of us would win,” said Utura. “This is the biggest success of my career.”
Utura led the pack through the first kilometre in 3:28.46, with Dibaba and the Kenyan pair always in close contact. She then powered away from the rest of the field in the final 200 metres.
In other results, World Youth champion Frederick Musyoki qualified to the next round after finishing second in his heat. The 17-year-old clocked 3:54.18 behind Algeria’s Abdlemadjed Touil in heat two.
Kenya’s other representative James Magut easily won his heat clocking a fast 3:46.41 to progress. Morocco’s Taha Belkorchi was second in 3:46.79 with Australia’s Ryan Gregson finishing third in a time of 3:46.82.
World junior 800 metres silver medallist Winny Chebet also made it to the semifinals after finishing second in heat one in 2:09.92.
Grace Kimanzi scraped through to the next round as one of the fastest losers after placing fifth in heat five. Running in her first ever international meet, Kimanzi froze on the big stage but a quick heat rode to her rescue as her time of 2:09.23 was quicker than the winner of heat one.
In Wednesday’s action, the 800 metres duo of Felix Martine Konchellah and Geoffrey Kibet will attempt to qualify for the final.
Konchellah, son to 1994 Commonwealth Games champion Patrick Konchellah, will be in heat two with World Indoor champion and the fastest man in the world this year Abubaker Kaki, while the World Youth champion Kibet will be in heat one.