NAIROBI, Kenya- Cynthia Chebet is one of the budding Kenyan athletes hoping to make a name at next month’s Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Under 18 (WU18) Championships.
However, the Riruta Central Secondary School student has chosen a path that is not common in a country famed for distance running prowess since she will be lining up in the Girls Javelin competition.
Chebet did not have to look far for inspiration. The sensational story of World champion, Julius Yego, has inspired an entire generation of young Kenyans hoping to make a career in the sport in field events.
Chebet is one of them and as she prepares for the WU18 that will run from July 12 to 16 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, her sights are trained on taking the formative steps of emulating her hero.
“I want to go down the history books as an achiever in field events,” the Form Four student declared.
“If Yego made it without anyone to motivate him, so can I. I believe in hard work, perseverance and determination,” the 17 year-old asserted.
Chebet qualified for the last edition of the WU18 after beating the qualifying standard of 49.00m with a best throw of 49.91m.
She is lucky to get a chance to compete at a world event since over the years, Athletics Kenya (AK) has not been keen on including field athletes in the teams for global age events.
Her hero, Yego was famously omitted from Team Kenya squad for the 2008 IAAF World U20 (formerly World Junior) Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland after beating the competition entry standards for the event.
After shedding tears on the sidelines of the Trials at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, the Javelin king went on to learn his trade on YouTube at cyber cafes and the rest as the cliche goes, is history.
Yego has since gone on to win the All Africa Games, two African, the Commonwealth and world titles and last year, he bagged the Olympic silver despite being injured at the final.
Having earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Chebet hopes the WU18 will act as a springboard to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“I know there is sufficient talent in the country that needs to be nurtured and my challenge to those in charge is to go out and help bring out these athletes.
“I will not stop at anything until I make to the Kenyan team for the next Olympics,” she avowed.
Chebet is among the over 50 athletes in residential camp in Nairobi hoping to make the final cut in Team Kenya for the event formerly known as World Youth that will be discontinued after Nairobi 2017 in favour of continental events open to athletes aged 16 and 17.