Sule Utura of Ethiopia leads Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and Lucia Kamene Muangi of Kenya on her way to victory in the final of the Women's 5000m Final (Getty Images) © Copyright
Lucia Kamene MUANGI (3000m, 5000m, 3000 SC, Cross Country)
Born: 26 June 1992, Makueni District, Eastern Province
Coach: Paul Mutwii
Fourth born in a family of two sons and four daughters
Attended Iuani Primary School before joining the Secondary School (high school) wing of the same institution
The year, 2007; the venue, Nairobi’s Ngong Racecourse ground that until 2010 was Kenya’s chosen arena to stage her World Cross Country Trials.
It was on that 24 February afternoon that Kamene, then 15, received the most incredible news in her life then: she had made her country’s team for the Mombasa World Cross at her first time of asking after finishing sixth at the Trials.
Upon closer scrutiny, Athletics Kenya selectors however, dashed the young prodigious talent’s hopes when they deemed her too young (as per IAAF rules) to compete at the event and consequently, withdrew her from the team.
She was subsequently struck by a foot injury that caused her to miss that year’s World Youth and African Junior championships, as well as the 2008 Trials for the Edinburgh World Cross.
Undeterred, Kamene resumed competition in April that year and a month later, she had recovered sufficiently to win the national secondary schools 5,000m race. Kamene also finished second over 3,000m at the same event.
On her second stab at representing her country, she duly secured the ticket to compete at the Bydgoszcz World Junior Championships, after finishing second at the national junior trials (16:09.0/18 June).
“I want to go for the gold in Poland and compensate for last year. I was 15 and they told me I could not travel. I was very disappointed and want to show them what I could have done,” she said before that event.
In Poland, she recorded 16:25.04 to finish just outside the medals in fourth. At the combined 16 June Kenya Trials for last year’s World Youth/Africa Junior championships, Kamene featured in her newly adopted discipline, the 2000m steeplechase where she clocked 6:37.1 for second and at the same event ran 9:22.4 (PB) for fifth in the 3000m final.
“My coach advised me to train for both to enhance my chances of making the team. That’s why I ran in both races but I was a bit tired when we did the 3000m,” she disclosed. Her gamble however, paid off when she was selected in her country’s team for the Bressanone World Youth, where she returned her career best 6:11.90 for silver in the girl’s 2000m steeple final.
“Bringing my first medal for Kenya made me so proud,” she said of her performance in Italy, an uplifting showing since her year had begun with a disappointing 33rd finish at the selection event for Amman World Cross in the junior 6km race that locked her out of the event.
She was not to return to the Polish city of Bydgoszcz for this year’s World Cross when she finished outside selection places at the Trials, but nonetheless, she was determined not to miss the World Junior party in Moncton, Canada when she returned a personal best time of 9:56.2 to win the 3,000m steeplechase race at the Kenyan Trials.
“Having taken silver, my biggest wish now is to take gold, but the most important thing for us in Canada is to work as a team,” she outlined.
5000 M: 16:09.0A (2008)
3000 M: 9:22.4A (2009)
2000 M Steeple: 6:11.90 (2009)
3000 M Steeple: 9:56.2A (2010)
2008 4th World Junior Championships, Bydgoszcz (5,000m)
2009 2nd World Youth Championships, Bressanone (2,000m SC)
Prepared by James Wokabi and Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008-2010