World Athletics U20 Championships: Namibia's Masilingi goes for 100m gold in Nairobi

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Beatrice MasilingiNamibian sprinter Beatrice Masilingi at the World under-20s championships in Nairobi

Namibia's Beatrice Masilingi goes into Thursday's women's 100m final at the World Athletics Under-20s Championships in Nairobi as one of the favourites to win the title.

The 18-year-old, who was sixth in the Olympic 200m final, finished first in her 100m semi-final in Nairobi having earlier claimed a personal best time of 11.20 seconds in the heats.

"It's crazy because just the other day I was competing with the world's best athletes at the Olympics," Masilingi told BBC Sport Africa.

"I would say I got a lot of experience there and more - and I think I can use all that Olympics experience here at the junior Championships, so I am here to show what I have got."

Masilingi is blocked from running distances between her favoured 400m and one mile under World Athletics rules because her testosterone levels are beyond the allowed limit for female athletes to compete over that distance, unless she medically lowers her testosterone for a period of at least six months.

It is the same case for her compatriot Christine Mboma who features in the women's 200m in Nairobi having picked up an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo.

Masilingi said the World U20 Championships were always her target this year.

"I didn't really plan to take part in the Olympics - I was planning for the junior Championships, I mean as a junior, this is the biggest stage for us and this is every young athlete's dream to show your skills - I really respect the World juniors.

"First of all it's the love I have for athletics, so being here and competing here with the other athletes is so much fun - it's really great and I am loving the experience so very much.

"I have been running my best times in Africa and winning the World junior title will be a bonus. I am really looking forward to running in the final," Masilingi added.

Wednesday

All three gold medals that were on offer on day one of the World U20 Athletics Championships in the Kenyan capital went to Africa.

There was a one-two finish for Ethiopia in the men's 3,000m steeplechase with Tadese Worku winning gold and compatriot Ali Abdilmana taking silver while Eritrea's Samuel Habtom won bronze.

"This is a very good start for me - I get a lot of confidence from this win because it predicts my future," Worku told BBC Sport Africa.

"Many of my friends like [Selemon] Barega, [Kenenisa] Bekele and Haile [Gebrselassie] have brought so much pride to Ethiopia and winning here means I am next in line following in their footsteps - I am very happy to know that my future is bright," Worku added.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, South Africa's Mire Reinstorf won gold in the women's pole vault and Nigeria won gold in the 4x400m mixed relay with their quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Deborah Oke and Bamidele Ajayi setting a new championship record of 3 minutes 19.70 seconds.

The championships in Nairobi, which started a day later than scheduled because of the challenge that Covid has had on travel,external-link finish on Sunday 22 August.

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