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Home Top News U20 women team impressively finish overall fourth as Kibet thrills in junior men

U20 women team impressively finish overall fourth as Kibet thrills in junior men

by Editorial Team
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By Javier Silas Omagor

On their first sea level outing, Team Uganda junior women impressively finished fourth overall behind Ethiopia, Kenya and USA at the World Cross Country Championships 2023, in Bathurst, New Wales, Australia on Saturday, 18.

It is such a great start for the youthful team endowed with potential of becoming serial winners if they stick together and work harder.

In the star-studded contest without the top two finishers from their trial event, Uganda largely relied on the likes of Charity Cherop and Bentalin Yeko who helped carry their squad into a top-four finish in the team standings, a place lower than last year’s finish.

Yeko in particular was not fazed by the fierce competitors or the scorching heat in Mt. Panorama region as she managed to finish in the 14th position with the clock of 22:24, the highest for Uganda in the category.

Yeko’s close friend Cherop ran and finished behind her in 15th slot with the time of 22:26, while Felister Chekwemoi (22:36) was good enough for the 16th position. The other Ugandan was Rispa Cherop who finished in a distant position.

Uganda, winners of U20 women’s team medals in 2017 and 2010, will have to wait a little bit longer to return to winning ways but for Ethiopia’s it was their time to clinch gold courtesy of Senayet Getachew who’s dominant form clocked 20:53.

Getachew’s compatriot Medina Aisa won silver after she came home with a time of 21:00 to overpower Kenya’s Pamela Kosgei who coiled her tail and settled for a bronze medal (21:01).  

Ultimately, the Ethiopian squad, which also included world U20 steeplechase bronze medallist Meseret Yeshaneh, looked destined to win their fourth successive team title in the U20 women’s race.

The last time an athlete outside of Kenya or Ethiopia made it on to the U20 women’s podium at the World Cross was back in 1999, and it seems likely that trend will continue even beyond Bathurst.

Meanwhile, Dan Kibet thrillingly dominated the initial stages of the U20 men category race, creating a considerable gap between him and the chasing pack.

Dan Kibet

But the Ugandan youngster lost his bearing with a few meters to run, finishing fourth being overtaken at homestraight by the Kenyan pair of Ishmael Kipkurui  (24:29) and Kipkorir Cheruiyot (24:30) who won gold and silver respectively.  

At that point, Kibet seemed to settle for a bronze medal, only to be painfully beaten to the gong by Ethiopia’s Boki Diriba with a margin of five seconds.

Kibet’s clock read 24:36 while Diriba’s was at 24:31 as they crossed the finish line. 

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