Chepkoech on road to defend her world under 20 title

Despite an unforgettable senior career debut at last weekend’s Athletics Kenya Central Rift Cross Country Championship, World Under 20 3,000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech says she is focused on retaining her title at the next edition set for Cali, Colombia on August 1-6 this year.

Chepkoech led a podium sweep for her native Uasin Gishu at the event, timing 34:39.20 ahead of Jescah Chelagat (35:18.50) and Agnes Keino (35:59.40). 

She is optimistic of a better performance at the national cross country championships on January 22 in Eldoret. 

“As much as I have won this title, I would like to replicate it at the national cross country championships. It is helping me build endurance ahead of my World under 20 title defence,” Chepkoech, 19, said .

She was satisfied with her performance considering the difficult circumstances under which she had cut the tape. 

“I won this race but my preparations were too minimal after missing training due to illness. Qualifying for the national championships is a good thing for me. I also want to represent Kenya at the World Championships in Eugene, USA and defend my title during the World Under-20,” Chepkoech said.

In the men’s 10km race, Vincent Kiprotich came first in 30:16.50, ahead of Shadrack Kipchirchir (30:20.60) and Josphat Kipchirchir (30:29.25) in second and third respectively.

Baringo’s Ismael Kirui won the juniors’ 8km, clocking 24:33.70 ahead of his fellow county-mates, Gilbert Kiprotich (24:51.70) and Josphat Kiprop (25:09.80). 

In the women’s 6km, Grace Loibach timed 25:09.80 in first as Deborah Jemutai (21:14.09) and Lorna Jepchumba (21:52.20) claimed the next two places. 

In Colombia, other Kenyans who will be defending their titles include  Purity Chepkirui (1,500m),  Benson Kiplangat (5,000m),  Emmanuel Wanyonyi (800m) and  Heristone Wanyonyi (10,000m race walk).

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