Kenya has won this title at the past two IAAF World Youth Championships and in Sandra Felis Chebet, they have an athlete who looks capable of making it three in a row for the proud steeplechasing nation.
Chebet holds three of the four fastest times in the world for a girl, her best effort of 6:16.19 coming at the Kenyan Youth Championships in Nairobi last month. That run puts her eight seconds clear of her closest rival in Cali, Celphine Cheptoek Chespot, who is Kenya’s second representative.
If anyone is to upset the Kenyan pair, then the Ethiopian trio of Agrie Belachew, Beletu Hailu and Asimarech Naga appear to hold the best chance.
Belachew came out on top at their trials in Addis Ababa in May, running 6:32.80, just ahead of Hailu (6:33.22) and Naga (6:33.75), although only two will run in Cali.
Of the non-Africans, Puerto Rico’s Alondra Negron, Belarus’s Tatsiana Shabanava and Hungary’s Lili Toth have all run 6:40 or quicker this year and look the strongest entries on paper.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF