Faith Chepng'etich at the World Junior Trials in Nairobi (Martin Mukangu / The Standard) © Copyright
Lille gold winners William Malel (boys 3000m), Conseslus Kipruto (boys 2000m Steeple) and Faith Chepng’etich (girls 1500m) will front the squad tasked with finishing atop the medal table as they did at the last event in Moncton, Canada.
Chepng’etich, the World and Africa Cross Country junior champion will double over the women 1500m and 3000m races with Geoffrey Kirui, who finished fifth at the senior 10,000m London Olympics Trial in Eugene, Oregon, being granted wildcard entry to Barcelona by Athletics Kenya (AK).
In a departure from the norm, the distance running talent powerhouse will be represented by two short sprinters at Spain’s World Juniors namely, rising sensation, Mike Mokamba who will race in both the men 100m and 200m with Duncan Nkaru penned for the longer dash.
Commonwealth Youth titleholder and Lille 400m silver winner, Alphas Kishoyan also bagged his place in the squad where he will be partnered by Boniface Mweresa in the lap-race with William Mbevi and Francis Mutunga competing in the 400m Hurdles.
Timothy Kitum, the gold winner from the Isle of Man Club Games and bronze winner from Lille was the only other recipient of wildcard selection in the men’s 800m after World Youth record holder, Leonard Konsecha declined the chance to contest for the World Juniors in favour of an attempt at making the London Olympics team.
MEN - Malel thrills, double dream dashed
Malel who powered to gold medal performances in Lille and Isle of Man last year showed no signs of halting his progression after easily nailing the distance double at the Trials to end up as the undisputed star of the meet.
On Friday, Malel who had arrived from his Toyota Kyushu corporate team base in Japan only three days prior shook off jet lag to motor to a 28:29.3 in the 25-lap race where all eight finishers dipped below the 31:30.0 qualifying standard for Barcelona.
"This was the first time to attempt 10,000m here after running my first race in Japan and I thank God that I made it since I was used to running 3000m. Having stayed in Japan for almost two months, I was worried about how I would perform here," Malel said after clinching the race ahead of Philemon Cheboi (28:36.8) and Bernard Kaitui (28:36.8) who sealed the podium.
However, selectors opted to reward Geoffrey Kirui, who raced 27:08.44 at the Prefontaine Classic Trial and runner-up Cheboi with the 25 lap-race slots for Barcelona.
Not finished, Malel returned to the Nyayo National Stadium track on Saturday and duly delivered a shining 13:38.33 5000m victory over Justin Kiprop who chased him to the line in 13:38.87 as Moses Mukono (13:42.75) further back in third.
"I do not know why I was not selected for the double since my wish was to run both races but I will focus on bringing the gold medal back to my country," Malel, who was seventh at the Africa Cross in March expressed. Kiprop will join him in the 5000m race.
In the water and barriers trial, Kipruto (8:21.3) who won the World Youth title over 2000m in 5:28.65 once again led his Lille bridesmaid, Gilbert Kirui (8:23.4) to the altar as both got the World Junior nod.
Commonwealth Youth titleholder Vincent Mutai who won 1500m silver in France was stunned to sixth to crash out from Barcelona as new comers Dominic Mutuku (3:40.94) and Hillary Ngetich (3:40.96) finished ahead of the field in that order to seal World Juniors places.
The two-lap race was blown wide open when Leonard Konsecha, the World youth champion from Lille and silver winner at the Isle of Man declined to compete despite showing up for the Barcelona Trials in favour of trying out Olympics selection.
"He believes he has a chance and we decided to allow him pursue his Olympics dream," national head coach, Julius Kirwa confirmed.
Edwin Kiplagat (1:45.2) edged out the battling Abraham Kipchirchir (1:45.5) in the flying finish to the final with the winner earning selection for Barcelona alongside Timothy Kitum who was sidelined for the Trials with slight injury.
Alphas Kishoyian the gold winner at the Isle of Man and silver medallist in Lille blasted to a dominant 45.64 victory in the 400m final with Boniface Mweresa (46.00) was second on the day joining him in the Barcelona line-up.
WOMEN - Chepng’etich at the double
With Malel’s double hopes crushed, those of Faith Chepng’etich who is evolving to be the natural heir to two-time World Junior titleholder Mercy Cherono are very much alive after the Punta Umbria World Cross junior women winner got the nod to run in both her speciality 1500m and 3000m in Spain.
Fresh from adding the Africa Cross junior crown to her expanding cabinet, Chepng’etich led the queue for Barcelona qualification when she pulled away from best mate Nancy Chepkemoi in the last 200 metres to complete a 4:09.1 triumph in her race.
Chepkemoi, who won the bronze in Moncton will be the only member from the World Juniors squad of two years ago making a return to the event after her 4:11.2 effort for second nailed the other place.
"I’m delighted with the chance to go and seek another medal for my nation and I will work hard to ensure I perform to my best," Chepng’etich, who will also compete in the 3000m despite not running the event’s selection race, said.
Caroline Chepkoech, who won the Africa Cross junior title last year before winning the bronze medal over 3000m in Lille will get the chance to emulate her two-time World Junior gold winner elder sister, Cherono after topping a two-way battle for the honours.
Having won the Africa Junior title in a championship record of 15:24.66 in Gaborone, Botswana last year, Chepkoech underlined her credentials for Barcelona when she found the legs to arrive at the finish ahead of the fighting Agnes Chebet in the women 5000m Trial.
The clocks returned 15:49.1 against 15:49.6 with both being selected for Barcelona.
Unheralded Daisy Chepkemei (10:06.6) and Stella Ruto (10:07.4) followed each other in that order to make the team in the women 3000m steeple in the absence of World and Commonwealth Youth titleholder, Norah Jeruto and Lilian Jepkorir who won bronze and silver in Lille and Isle of Man.
Agatha Jeruto, the fourth finisher at World Youth will be sole runner in the women two-lap event after winning the Trial in 2:07.25, the only starter who beat the 2:09.10 qualifying standard for Barcelona. Caren Jebotip, who was second in 2:09.27 thereby, just missed the cut.
The team will report to camp next Friday (15 June) in Nairobi and depart for Barcelona on 5 July for the championships that will run from 10 to 15 July.
Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF
BARCELONA WORLD JUNIOR SQUAD
MEN: Mike Mokamba (100m/200m), Duncan Nkaru (200m), Alphas Kishoyian, Boniface Mweresa (400m), William Mbevi, Francis Mutunga (400m Hurdles), Edwin Kiplagat, Timothy Kitum (800m), Dominic Mutuku, Hillary Cheruiyot (1500m), Conseslus Kipruto, Gilbert Kirui (3000m steeplechase), William Malel, Justin Kiprop (5000m), Philemon Cheboi, Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui (10000m)
WOMEN: Agatha Jeruto (800m), Faith Chepng’etich (1500m/3000m), Nancy Chepkwemoi (1500m), Mercy Chebwogen (3000m), Daisy Chepkemei, Stella Ruto (3000m steeplechase), Caroline Chepkoech, Agnes Chebet (5000m)
- Faith Chepng'etich at the World Junior Trials in Nairobi (Martin Mukangu / The Standard) © Copyright
- William Malel Sitonik, World Youth 3000m champion (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Gold Medalist Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon of Kenya (C) in action in the Girls 1500 metres final - Day Four - WYC Lille 2011 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Silver medalist Gilbert KIPLANGAT KIRUI (l) and Gold medalist Conseslus KIPRUTO of Kenya clear the water jump during the Boys 2000 metres steeplechase final - Day Three - WYC Lille 2011 (Getty Images) © Copyright