NAIROBI, Kenya, July 10 – Commonwealth Games 3000m Steeplechase silver medallist, Celliphine Chespol sailed through to the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships that started on Tuesday in Finland to remain on course to defend the title she won in 2016.
Chespol, who is favourite to take the title, easily won the first semi-final in 9:45.60 ahead of Australian Montanna McAvoy who qualified in second place after clocking a Personal Best of 9:59.67 as Japanese Minami Nishiyama completed the automatic slot qualification in a Personal Best of 10:02.89.
Another Kenyan, Mercy Chepkurui stormed the final to be held on Friday thanks to her second finish in the third semi-final where she returned 9:50.05 behind Ugandan Peruth Chemutai who won the race in 9:34.34.
Ethiopian Etalemahu Sintayehu timed a Personal Best of 9:52.92 to qualify after settling for third place.
Chepsol, who has a Personal Best of 8:58.78 that she clocked in 2017 at the Eugene Oregon Diamond League, has had a good season, finishing second at the Roma Golden Gala in May before taking again second position in Paris Meeting held on June 30.
Looking to follow in the footsteps of his elder brother World and Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Manangoi, George reached the final of the men’s 1500m after finishing second in Heat 1, automatically qualifying in 3:51.40.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway won the race in 3:51.34 while Oussama Cherrad of Algeria returned 3:52.33 to also qualify in third place.
Justus Soget joined Manangoi in the final to be run on Thursday after topping Heat 2 where he dominated in 3:44.70, beating Ethiopian Birhanu Sorsa who qualified second in 3:44.92 while American Cooper Teare sealed the third automatic slot after timing 3:45.06.
-Wambui sails through-
World U18 champion Jackline Wambui booked a slot in the women’s 800m semi-final after finishing second in Heat 1, clocking 2:05.27 behind Japanese Ayano Shiomi who returned 2:05.13 while American Samantha Watson took the third slot in 2:06.34 as Australian Jemima Russell finished fourth in 2:06.84 to also qualify.
In Heat 3, Lydia Jeruto joined Wambui in representing the Kenyan team in the two-lap race, following her second finish in 2:05.63 behind Japanese Ayaka Kawata who dominated the race in 2:05.08.
Third place went to French Maeliss Trapeau who timed 2:05.72, BelgianCamille Muls qualified in fourth place in 2:06.41 while Italian Federica Cortesi advanced as the only fastest loser.
Meanwhile, Rhonex Kipruto and Solomon Boit as well as Beatrice Chebet and Hellen Ekarare will kick off Kenya’s hunt for medals when they compete in the final of the 10,000m and 5,000m respectively.