This is Justin Lagat’s report on Session 2 of Day 3 at the World Athletics U20 Championships!
The afternoon weather on the third day of the championships in Nairobi turned out to be pleasantly sunny after the previous day’s rainy one.
Not only did we get to enjoy the best weather here, but the best moment of my career as a sports journalist also just happened to me. I just saw a world record being broken for the first time in my life with my naked eyes! Sasha Zhoya of France just ran a sensational 110m hurdles semi-final to register a new world under 20 record of 12.93! But there could be more to come in the final after, almost running backward to check who was running close to him, Jamaican Vashaun Vascianna also easily won the first heat of the men’s 110m hurdles in 13:35.
The weather must have been responsible for the amazing performances on the track.
Christine Mboma of Namibia ran a championship record of 22.41 in the first semi-finals of the women’s 200m. But that only lasted for a few minutes. Beatrice Masilingi came and set a new one of 22.19 in the second semi-final. And, if Favour Ofili had just run before Masilingi, then we would have had three championship records within a matter of minutes in one event! She ran 22.37 to win the third semi-final! The final of this race will be exciting to watch.
Another championship record came in the second heat of the men’s 200m semifinals by Nigeria’s Udodi Onwozurike who ran 20.13. All the runners, except one, in the first semi-final ran their personal best times as well.
Earlier in the afternoon, it was time to find out if the future of the men’s 3000m steeplechase event is still in the hands of Kenyan runners during the semi-finals that happened to have been the first event on track. It looked so, as Simon Koech won the first heat in 8:52 while Amos Serem won the second heat in 8:29.98 and waving to the crowds not to cheer yet as there was still the final coming up on Sunday.
Ditaji Kambudji of Switzerland and the two Jamaican runners; Ackera Nugent and Oneka Wilson appeared to be the runners in contention for the medals in the finals after the three won their respective heats in the 100m hurdles semi-finals.
An exciting women’s 3000m steeplechase ended a fantastic day. Kenya’s Jackline Chepkoech made a bold move and broke away early in the race surprising the rest who followed her in a single file. By the time Zerfe Wondemagen tried to close the gap, Chepkoech had already created a large gap enough for her to comfortable win the gold medal ahead of her. Wondemagen won the silver medal while the other Kenyan, Faith Cherotich followed her to take the bronze medal.