By Fred Maingi
Francis Kiptoo and Shaline Chemutai, sponsored by betting firm BangBet, were the toast of the day at the Athletics Kenya North Rift Region World Under-20 Championships pre-trials held at Lorna Kiplagat Sports Complex in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet county on Saturday.
On a day when Africa junior 3,000m champion Zena Jemutai won a double by claiming victory in both 3,000m and 1,500m, BangBet-sponsored Kiptoo and Chemutai romped to victory in 3,000m steeplechase to qualify for the national trials set to take place from July 1-3 at Kasarani Stadium.
Reuben Mosin, also sponsored by BangBet, qualified for the national trials after timing 14:35.02 in 5,000m while Lydia Cheruiyot clocked 4:38.02 to clinch her ticket in the 1,500m race.
Evans Kipruto, who was also backed by the gaming firm, claimed a hat-trick of tickets by winning in triple jump, long Jump and 400m hurdles to easily qualify for the national trials while Brenda Chepchirchir finished third in 3,000m to qualify.
‘Team BangBet’ as they were called, could not hide their delight after qualifying and have asked for more support as they prepare for the more demanding national trials that will pit them against the very best in the country.
“I expect a win at the national trials but no one can predict what will happen. We leave it to God,” said Evans Kipruto.
Their coach Edward Moti said: “We thank BangBet for supporting these athletes and making our work as coaches easy. God willing, we will make it to the Kenyan team but before we get there, we need things like a proper gym, good diet and to get used to the tartan track which require money. We hope they can stick with us through this.”
Meanwhile in the 800m race, Judy Jeruto (Elgeyo Marakwet) won in 2:11.0 ahead of Brenda Jebet (Elgeyo Marakwet) who timed 2:12.8 while Elizabeth Adievi (Turkana) was third in 2:17.9.
The World Under-20 Championships will take place in Nairobi from August 17-22 at Kasarani Stadium.