Purity Chepkirui on Sunday afternoon delivered back the World Athletics Under-20 Championships women’s 1,500m title to Kenya after nine years.
The last two laps was a supremacy battle between Kenya and Ethiopia with Chepkirui and compatriot Winnie Jemutai putting Diribe Welteji and Jiwot Mehari to the sword.
However, it’s Chepkirui, who led all the way, hitting the bell at 3:15.41 before holding off Welteji to win in 4:16.07 and end Ethiopia’s dominance.
Welteji settled for silver in 4:16.39 as Jemutai claimed silver in 4:18.99.
Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich was the last Kenya to hold the title, having won in 2012 Barcelona.
“The fact that we had not won the title since 2012 gave me the zeal to win the event. I would not have let my country down with the event being staged at home,” said Chepkirui, adding that she took no chances by hitting the front and staying there.
“I knew the Ethiopians would give us hard time. It would have been better with spectators around but it gave me the morale to give Kenyans at home something to celebrate,” said Chepkirui, who trains in Tiloa, Keringet, Nakuru County under coach Michael Siele.
Chepkirui said her dream is to make the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and challenge her role model, Faith Chepng’etich.
Jemutai was glad to win bronze.
“The field was strong and winning bronze is a surprise. I now want to focus on training to see if I will make the Under-20 team for the World Cross Country Championships next year,” said Jemutai.