Athletics Kenya has selected 10 young runners to feature in the inaugural African Youth Athletics Championships which goes down in Warri, from today to Sunday.
The team, comprises of athletes only in the ages of 16 and 17. The AK Secretary of the Youth Sub-Committee, Japheth Kemei, expressed his confidence in the youngsters, saying he trusts them to win the championship without much trouble. “Our team takes on board champions in the youth docket and we are expecting nothing less than a medal haul when they return on the second of next month. Nigeria and other countries cannot stop us from achieving our target,” said Kemei.
The contest, which comes barely three months before the World Youth Championships takes place in July in Donetsk, Ukraine, may be the incentive the young runners need to excel in Ukraine. Under the captaincy of reigning World Junior 3000 meters champion, Mercy Chebwogen, the athletes have demonstrated brilliant performances internationally and in regional contests.
Chebwogen, who got dropped off the team that went for last weekend’s World Cross Country championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, following inadequate training, said: This will be my chance to prove my readiness for the World Youth Challenge.”
Eastern Regional Youth Championships silver medalist, Patrick Kiprotich Rono, headlines his two-lap 800-metre race specialty, while Robert Kiptoo, who booked a slot after posting a personal best, will battle it out in 1500 meters category.
Also in the team, and fresh from winning the Nairobi County Cross Junior Championships in February, Kilgoris-based Meshack Letim says he is in superlative form and hopes to bring out his best in Warri. “I am very glad that my coaches have trusted me with this slot and hope to post brilliant results in Nigeria,” said Letim.
The 2000 meters steeplechase event takes an Edwin Melly and Abraham Biwot duo, who promise to give fellow youth a dash for the titles. Eastern Region Youth silver titlists in the 800 and 1500-meter events, Jarinta Mawia and Eva Cherono, will feature in those corresponding fields consecutively. Daisy Chepkemei and Stella Ruto will have another forum to shine after failing in Barcelona in 2011