Kenya’s Faith Cherotich meant business. That much was clear as the 18-year-old blasted away at the start in the women’s 3000m steeplechase final on Friday.
It was a lead she would never relinquish. Bronze medallist last year, when the World U20 Championships was held on her home soil in Nairobi, she was determined to get gold this time and put in a dominant display to leave Ethiopia’s world U20 leader Sembo Almayew with no response.
Almayew had run 9:09.19 in June, a second consecutive world U18 best. But Cherotich had clocked 9:12.04 in Nairobi in May and went quickest in the qualifying round in Cali. In the final, Cherotich led an early breakaway group of five that was quickly strung out.
Almayew reacted straight away and remained just a step behind, until she could hold on no longer. Cherotich had build around a five-second lead with two laps remaining and was 11 seconds ahead at the bell.
She only increased that further and went on to win in 9:16.14, with Almayew second in 9:30.41 and her Ethiopian teammate Meseret Yeshaneh third in 9:42.02.
Outside the medals there was a battle for fourth, Tunisia’s Rihab Dhahri pipping Kenya’s Pamela Kosgei, 10:06.42 to 10:06.46.
(World Athletics Championships U20 Cali 22)- Advertisement -