Kenya reigned supreme in the just-concluded World Under 20 Championships coming first in the medal table with 16 medals. Kenya won eight gold, one silver, and seven bronze medals. The World Junior Athletics Championships, WJC 2021 were held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya where the Kenyan youngsters took the day in an impressive home win.
The Kenyan youngsters did the country proud and set a good precedent for the athletics championships to come. The team showed its capability and ability ahead of other international athletics competitions and even the Summer Olympics that will be held in Paris, France in 2024.
Kenya came first in the medal table with a total of 16 medals, 8 gold, 1 silver, and 7 bronze. Finland came second with a total of 5 medals, 4 gold, 1 silver, and no bronze. Nigeria came third with 7 medals, 4 gold, no silver, and 3 bronze. Ethiopia came fourth with 12 medals, 3 gold, 7 silver, and 2 bronze. Jamaica came fifth with 11 medals, 3 gold, 6 silver, and 2 bronze. South Africa was sixth with 9 medals, 3 gold, 2 silver, and 4 bronze. Botswana followed at seventh with 4 medals, 3 gold, and 1 silver. Sweden was eighth with 3 medals, all gold. France was ninth with 8 medals, 2 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze. The Czech Republic came in tenth with 3 medals, 2 gold, and 1 bronze.
Kenya took gold in the Men’s 10,000m race Walk where Heristone Wanyonyi beat India and Spain to take home the gold medal. In the Men’s 3000m Steeplechase, Amos Serem of Kenya took gold, followed by Tadese Takele of Ethiopia who took silver, and fellow Kenyan Simon Kiprop Koech who bagged the bronze medal. The Kenyan team also took gold and bronze in the Men’s 5000m where Benson Kiplagat took gold, followed by Tadese Worku of Ethiopia who went home with the silver, and fellow Kenyan Levy Kibet who took the bronze medal.
Vincent Kibet Keter of Kenya took gold in the Men’s 1500m, beating Ethiopians Wegene Addisu and Melkeneh Azize who took silver and bronze medals respectively. In the Men’s 800m, Kenya took gold and bronze also with Emmanuel Wanyonyi edging past Mohamed Ali Gouaned of Algeria who took silver, followed by Noah Kibet of Kenya who took the bronze medal.
For the women’s team, the Women’s 1500m gold and bronze went to Kenya after Purity Chepkirui beat Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia to clinch gold, Welteji came second to take home the silver, with Kenyan Winnie Jemutai taking bronze. In the Women’s 3000m, Kenya bagged gold and silver with Teresiah Muthoni Gateri bagging gold and her teammate Zenah Jemutai Yego bagging the silver medal. Melknat Wudu of Ethiopia followed and took home the bronze medal.
Kenya again took gold and bronze in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase where Jackline Chepkoech beat Ethiopian Zerfe Wondemagegn to take gold with the Ethiopian clinching silver. The two were followed by fellow Kenyan Faith Cherotich who took home the bronze medal for the event. Kenya also took bronze in the Men’s 4x400m relay and in the Women’s 400m where Sylvia Chelangat went home with the bronze medal.
An Impressive Host
Team Kenya made a stellar performance and imprinted the country’s name in the all-time greats for a home event. The team is very capable of having a huge impact in athletics in the years to come. With the provision of all the needed equipment, facilities and facilitation, the Kenyan junior athletics team has the potential to dominate the global athletics stage.
The WU20 Championships are just the beginning. Kenya also did a phenomenal job of hosting the championships, backing up a similarly impressive feat back in 2017 for the IAAF World Under 18 Championships, formerly known as the IAAF World Youth Championships. The country has proven itself as a host for these championships and has topped off with an exemplary show of talent and prowess. Hongera Team Kenya!