Vernon’s Hannah Bennison finished a solid eighth in the girls’ 3,000m Thursday in the 9th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Youth Track & Field Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Bennison, a 15-year-old VSS student coached by Nate Reider of Kelowna, posted a 9:42.75 in the field of 20.
Bennison qualified for the IAAF finals by winning the 3,000 in a record 9:33.44 in the Subway B.C. High School Track and Field Championships at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park a month ago.
Shuru Bulo of Ethiopia took a convincing victory in the race, an event all but dominated by Kenya at the previous eight IAAF under 18 editions.
Bulo, relatively unheralded prior to her arrival in Cali, took the lead with 200 metres remaining en route to her 9:01.12 showing, a world-youth-leading time.
Kenya’s Emily Chebet Kipchumba, who ran at the front for most of the race, finished second in 9:02.92, just ahead of teammate Sheila Chelangat, at breezy Pascual Guerrero Stadium.
The second through fourth runners all posted personal bests.
By finishing top-eight, Bennison pocketed valuable points for Team Canada, which is represented in Colombia by 47 athletes – 27 females. Bennison, at five feet and 90 pounds, ran against some athletes twice her size. Many were older.
Japanese runners took the fifth- and sixth-placings, while Bahrain’s Fatuma Jewaro Chebsi was seventh, three seconds in front of Bennison.
Bennison was 11/100 of a second ahead of Australia’s Annabel McDermott.
Canada’s Shona McCulloch finished 11th in 9:44.74
In the provincials, Bennison broke the 9:37.20 set in 1984 by Kelowna-Mt. Boucherie Bears’ runner Brenda Shackleton in 1984. Hannah’s mom, Anne, used to compete against Shackleton as a youngster.
Glynis Sim of Salmon Arm, coached by John Machuga of the Vernon AAA Club, will compete in the 2,000m steeplechase later in the world event.
The World Youth Championships features more than 1,400 athletes from 156 countries, making it the biggest international athletics event to be held in South America.
An impressive championship record of 10.28 in the boys’ 100m by Japan’s Abdul Hakim Sani Brown capped an entertaining opening day.