Kenya’s Lenah Nanjala rued three penalties that cost her a potential medal as she settled 14th in girls’ 5,000m race walk at the World Under-18 Championships at Kasarani on Saturday.
Nanjala, a class 8 pupil at Matili Primary School, was red carded thrice, incurring a 60 seconds penalty in the process, but still returned a personal best of 25 minutes and 23.97 seconds.
The 17-year-old Nanjala, who led through 1,000m and 2,000m in 4:35.76 and 9:17.81, lost the battle to Ecuadorian Glenda Morejon, who dominated to lead through 3,000m mark in 13:52.95 and 4,000m in 18:17.22 to win gold in 22:32.30.
Morejon had to dig dip in the last 50m where she went shoulder-to-shoulder with Meryem Bekmez from Turkey before winning on the line. Bekmez snatched silver in 22:32.79 as Russian Elvira Khasanova, who was competing as a neutral, settled for bronze in 22:35.72.
“I will not give up despite the poor finish. We learn from mistakes and I think the future looks bright for me with more specialised training,” said Nanjala, who has been inspired by World javelin champion Julius Yego. “The penalty is what slowed me down and I was unable to recover.”
Samson made history after coming third to win the bronze medal in the thrilling race.