'BALL IN YOUR COURT'

Chepkirui, Chebet hunt for medals in 1500m final

Chepkirui, who finished third in her heat by clocking 4:19.94, said she feels under pressure to deliver but believes she has what it takes to retain the title.

In Summary

• The race has in the recent past been a battle between East African rivals of Kenya and Ethiopia and Chepkirui has her work cut out as Mebriht Mekonen and Birke Haylom lurk.

• Ethiopia had reigned in the specialty for three consecutive years  (Eugene 2014, Bydgoszcz 2016 and Tampere 2018) before Chepkirui altered the pattern.

Purity Chepkirui and Winnie Jemutai celebrate after winning gold and bronze medals respectively in the 1,500m race last year during the World Under 20 Championships at Moi, Stadium, Kasarani.
Purity Chepkirui and Winnie Jemutai celebrate after winning gold and bronze medals respectively in the 1,500m race last year during the World Under 20 Championships at Moi, Stadium, Kasarani.
Image: FILE

Kenya’s Purity Chepkirui will be seeking to retain her World Under 20 Championships 1500m title on the final day of the six-day event in the Colombian capital of Cali on Sunday.

The race has in the recent past been a battle between East African rivals of Kenya and Ethiopia and Chepkirui has her work cut out as Mebriht Mekonen and Birke Haylom lurk.

The Kenyan dethroned the Tampere 2018 winner, Ethiopian Alemaz Samuel, when she won the title on home soil in Nairobi last year.

Ethiopia had reigned in the specialty for three consecutive years  (Eugene 2014, Bydgoszcz 2016 and Tampere 2018) before Chepkirui altered the pattern.

Haylom, who will be making her U20 debut, is the fastest in the field with a personal best time of 4:02.25.

She won her heat in 4:18.06, which clearly showed she is ready to battle for the title. Her counterpart, Mekonen has a personal best time of 4:03.29 and was also impressive in the preliminaries, winning her heat in 4:18.97.

Kenya’s Brenda Chebet is also one to watch when the race kicks off on Sunday 12am (EAT).

Chebet has a personal best time of 4:05.50 and was also unscathed in the preliminary rounds as she won her heat in 4:12.20, the fastest among the qualifiers.

Chepkirui, who finished third in her heat by clocking 4:19.94, said she feels under pressure to deliver but believes she has what it takes to retain the title.

She will get inspiration from her silver medal performance at the African Senior Championships in June in Mauritius — behind Olympian Winny Chebet.

Maureen Cherotich and Jane Gati will also hope to add to Kenya's medal haul when they compete in the 5,000m race on Sunday 12:25 am (EAT).

It is also expected to be an East African battle if the last two editions are anything to go by.

Kenya's Beatrice Chebet won the title in Tampere four years ago but was dethroned by Ethiopia’s Mizan Alem last year.