Beatrice Chebet made history as the first Kenya woman to win the 5,000m title, when she demolished a strong field to romp to victory at the World Under-20 Championships in athletics in Tampere, Finland on Tuesday.
Chebet, who had vowed to battle her Ethiopian rivals to the end and end their dominance, stayed in the middle of the pack before bolting to zoom past Ethiopian Ejgayehu Taye with 300m to go to win in a personal best of 15 minutes and 30.77 seconds.
Chebet, who was inspired by the Londiani-based running sisters of Emily and Sandra Chebet to take up athletics in 2015, relegated Taye to second place, also in a personal best of 15:30.87, as compatriot Girmawit Gebrzihair went for bronze in 15:34.01.
“I’m so happy to be the first Kenya to deliver a medal. I was running from behind to preserve my energy given that the athletes are very good in the final lap," said Chebet.
Chebet had hoped to be lucky this time around on her third appearance for Kenya after she finished fourth in the 3,000m at the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi last year and ninth during the Africa Cross Country Championships in March this year.
“Last year I missed a medal narrowly and I went back home where I trained hard with the help of my coach Paul Kemei. I must say that the discipline was key in bagging this medal today.
Kenyan women had not won the 5,000m in the history of the event. Chebet’s coach Paul Kemei of Lemotit Athletics Club in Londiani said they concentrated on working on the finishing kick since they had good endurance.
“Before the trials, she polished on her finishing kick where Ethiopians have always beaten us in previous events,” Kemei told Nation Sport via phone on Tuesday.
“You saw her she took off effortless in the last 300m and I thank God our efforts have paid dividends.”
Another Kenyan Hellen Ekalale, who was in the leading pack, fell in the last 300m which slowed her down and she finished in a distant fifth clocking 15:45.07.
“I’m happy I was able to give support to my teammate and it’ quite unfortunate I tripped in the last 300m which slowed me down. This is just but a start and there is more to come,” said Ekalale.
Earlier, World Under-18 400m silver medallist Mary Moraa ran a personal best of 52:85 in the second heat to qualify for the semi-finals of her speciality.