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Zakayo warns Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega

Edward Zakayo celebrates after winning the 5,000m race at the Athletics Kenya IAAF World Under-20 Championship trials at the Kasarani Stadium on June 12, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11- Commonwealth Games 5,000m bronze medalist Edward Zakayo has warned decorated Ethiopian World Under-18 and World Under-20 Champion Selemon Barega of Ethiopia that he will be going in for revenge when the two clash at next month’s IAAF World Under-20 Championship in Tampere, Finland.

Berega, 18, beat Zakayo in the 3,000m on home ground during the 2017 IAAF World Under-18 Championships at the Kasarani Stadium and still bearing hurt one year later, Zakayo says he is ready for revenge.

“Barega beat me here in Nairobi last year and I wasn’t happy. Now, we will be in Finland and I will do my best to beat him and win gold. He is the only threat heading there and I don’t see anyone else as a big threat. It will be me versus him,” the 17-year old Form three student at Kapsait Secondary School said.

Whilst Zakayo went on to win bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in March, Berega who won the Under-20 title in Poland in 2016 has been on a roll winning silver at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham as well as top positions in the Eugene and Stockholm legs of the Diamond League.

Stanley Mburu with Edward Zakayo came in second and third behind Barega during the World Under-18 Championship in Nairobi in 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Nonetheless, Zakayo who has immense self belief is confident that on a good day, he will be able to beat the Ethiopian.

“I have gained so much experience running with the seniors especially at the Commonwealth Games. I believe I am a better athlete now,” the 17-year old added.

Zakayo booked a ticket to Finland after winning the Athletics Kenya trials at the Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday and will be joined in the team by Stanley Waithaka who finished third at the Under-18 Championship last year.

Zakayo timed 13:19.74 while Waithaka clocked 13:23.67.

“It has been my dream to make the team to the Under-20 Championships and before the race, we talked with Waithaka and said we had to continue with the good work.”

Edward Zakayo leading in Boys 3000m semis during the 2017 World Under-18 Championship in Nairobi. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“When we go to Finland, we have to win 1-2. The coach has also done well to prepare us and I am hopeful we will have more good moments,” he added.

Meanwhile, the athlete who wore spikes for the very first time in his life at the World Under-18 games said that athletics has hugely changed his life having come from a poor background in his native Narok South.

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“Things have been better since then because I have been able to uplift my family and I paid all my outstanding school fees balance. Now I can smile and the only thing for me is work hard in training and in school with my studies,” Zakayo added.

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