Kenya’s Mercy Chepkorir has been left out of Kenya team for the World Under-20 Championships in athletics starting Tuesday this week in Tampere, Finland.
Chepkorir, who would have competed in women’s 3,000m, failed to travel with the rest of the team on Sunday following an anomaly in her passport, which indicated that she was male.
Athletics Kenya chairman in charge of youth and development Barnaba Korir described the mistake as unfortunate saying the Finnish Embassy returned the passport on Friday, making it impossible to launch new application.
“It’s unfortunate our officials also didn’t capture the mistake on time,” said Korir, adding that he has personally talked to the distraught Chepkorir as the last batch of Team Kenya left for Tampere on Sunday at 4.45am.
Kenya will now be represented in the 3,000m by Zena Jemutai, who won during the trials with Chepkorir finishing second.
The first batch of 19 athletes and officials left the country on Saturday morning followed by the rest (23) on Sunday all aboard Turkish Airlines planes.
Among them were history-making triple jumpers Gloria Mulei and Philip Musyoka, who will be out to leave a memorable mark in Tampere.
This is the first time Kenya is having a team in field events at the World Under-20, with the duo having attained their respective events' qualifying marks.
The 18-year-old Mulei did it in style when she became the youngest ever Kenyan to break the national record when winning the national title in 12.97 metres during the national trials on June 22 at Kasarani.
Mulei had missed the qualifying mark of 12.85m by just 0.3m during the Under-20 trials 10 days earlier.
Mulei said she isn’t done yet.
“I want to improve that record further at the world junior event and perhaps reach the final,” said Mulei, who thanked her coach Caroline Kola, the former national triple jump record holder, for inspiring her to accomplish the feat.
Kola’s national record of 12.91 had stood for 19 years before Mulei, who is a form four student at Kwanthanze shattered it at the National Championships.
Caroline Kola set the record during the Nationals on June 20, 2001.
“Kola improved on my techniques from the runaway, to the jump and landing,” said Mulei, who hopes to use the techniques and scale over 13 metres.
“I believe it’s quite possible.”
Mulei’s dream is to qualify for next year’s World Championships planned for Doha, Qatar and ultimately the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“But I shall require specialised training if I am to make it to that level,” said Mulei, who has won the National Secondary Schools triple jump title for the last four years.
Besides retaining the title this year, the form four student Kwanthanze, who reached the finals during the World Under-18 Championships last year in Nairobi, was also declared the best athlete, having won the long jump, high jump and 100m race titles.
The 18-year-old Musyoka, who also represented Kenya at the World Under-18 Championships last year, is targeting to reach the finals in Finland, besides improving on his personal best of 16.18m.
“Coach Kola has worked on my technique since the youth event last year and I am good to go,” said Musyoka, who embraced triple jump while in class 8 at Itul Primary School in Kitui back in 2013.
“I want to leave Finland with a lasting impression.”