Chelangat, Kimeu were part of Kenyan team disqualified in 4x400m mixed relay
Talk about mixed emotions. This is what Kenyan sprinters Sylvia Chelangat and Kennedy Kimeu experienced as they reached the finals of women’s and men’s event set for Saturday.
Their performance was the highlight of the morning session as the World Athletics Under-20 Championships got underway at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, yesterday.
The two finished second in their respective heats to book their automatic places in the finals as Kenya’s other representative in the individual one lap race Elikanah Kiprotich failed to qualify after finishing third in heat two.
The trio were part of the Kenyan quartet that was disqualified in the 4x400m mixed relay despite finishing second in their heat.
“I experienced all the mood swings in a short span of time, happy, sad and happy again,” said Chelengat who placed third overall in the qualifying times.
Kimeu surged to a season’s best 47.05 to finish second in the third heat behind South Africa’s Lythe Pillay, who won the event in 46.55. Kimeu did the hard work from lane one.
“It was extremely tough running from lane one. I was chasing everyone from gun to tape.
I felt like crying after we were disqualified in the mixed relays. So I have some sort of consolation.”
She rallied from behind to surge to second place in a personal best 53.49 seconds in the third heat that went to one of the pre-race favourites Nse Uko from Nigeria in 52.33.
Chelangat’s time placed her third overall in the qualifying times, coming immediately after Kornelia Lesiewicz from Poland, who won the first heat in 52.63.
“One thing with me is that I to tend run according to the opponents I am facing. Before today my best time was 55 seconds.
What that means I can still lower my time in the finals,” added Chelangat.
Oneika MCannuff from Jamaica won the second heat with the fifth fastest qualifying time of 54.13.
Kiprotich clocked a personal best 46.79 to settle third in the second heat, but his effort was not enough to put him through as Anthony Pesela from Botswana won the heat in the second fastest time of 45.88.
Mexican Luis Aviles Ferreiro glided to the fastest in the heats, clocking 45.66 to claim the first heat, beating Italian Lorenzo Benati to second in 46.28.
Early in the day, team Kenya’s hopes of a medal in the 4x400m mixed relays went up in smoke after they were disqualified for lane infringement.
Kiprotich had anchored Kenya to second place after an explosive exchange of leads with Nigeria.
Bamidele Ajay overtook Kiprotich on the home straight to win in a Championship record time of 3:21.66.
In the second leg Sylvia Chelangat did much of the donkey work, overtaking Deborah Opeyemi only for Kenya to fall to rule Tri 17.31.
In the third leg Loice Morara stepped on the line to see Kenya out of the competition.
Italy came second in 3:28.00 as South Africa sealed the last third qualifying place in the heat in 3:30.43.
India won the first heat in 3:23.36 followed by Czech Republic in 3:24.15 and Jamaica in 3:24.65 to all qualify automatically. Poland and Sri Lanka joined them in the final that was due later yesterday.