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“Work hard, win easy,” World Under 20 champ Chelangat says after striking gold in Cali

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – After crossing the finish line to claim Kenya’s first gold medal at the ongoing World Under 20 Championships, Betty Chelangat has credited her win to hard work in training.

The junior athlete timed 9:01.03 in the clinch the women’s 3000m steeplechase as Ethiopian Tsiyon Abebe (9:03.85) and another Kenyan, Nancy Cherop (9:05.98) came second and third respectively.

“I am glad to be my country’s first medalist in these championships. It is my fastest time. I trained hard for the medal. My tactic is that I train hard. That’s why I win,” Chelangat said. She inherited the crown that was won by Teresia Muthoni on home soil at last year’s World Under 20 Championship in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, Cherop believes the third-place finish was not her best performance yet even though she said she is content with bronze considering the struggles she had to go through.

“I enjoyed the race; everyone was so fast. When I run on a track, I am always expecting to win the race, but I ranked in position three. My leg was not good,” Cherop said.

The two are Kenya’s first medalists at the biennial competition in which the country is hoping to defend its World Under 20 crown for the third consecutive time, after Tampere, Finland in 2018 and Nairobi in 2021.

In other races involving Kenyans, Elkanah Chemelil proceeded to the semi-finals of the men’s 400m despite finishing fourth in Heat 2 in 46.69.

World Under 20 400m bronze medalist Sylvia Chelangat finished second in Heat 4 of the women’s 400m, timing 53.99 behind Jamaican Dejanea Oakley who clinched victory in 53.70 as Nigerian Queen Usunobun came third in 54.32.

Similarly, Damaris Mutunga finished second in Heat 2 of the same race, clocking a personal best of 52.60, behind Indian Rupal (52.50) in first place.

Moroccan Salma Lehlali came third in a national under 20 record of 54.14.

In the women’s 800m, Nelly Jepchirchir qualified for the finals after finishing third in Heat 2, timing 2:02.03. Another Kenyan, Evaline Chepkoech, however, could not make it after a seventh-place finish in the third heat where she clocked 2:07.40.

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