Athletes eye U20 competition slots
Junior athletes in North Rift and Western Region camps have expressed their interest to shine at the national trials set for July 7th and 8th ahead of the World Athletics Under 20 Championships in Cali.
The athletes drawn from Kaptama in Bungoma County, Chewoyet in West Pokot and Ndura in Trans Nzoia County said they have been training hard in preparation for the national trials to be held in Kasarani.
“As a team, we are well prepared for the championships which we believe will bear good fruits,” Emmanuel Wafula, who is training to be a steeplechaser at Kaptama camp said.
Former Tartar Secondary School student Ann Bertha said she has been struggling to train by herself, but it bore no fruits. “I have been training on my own before joining the camp. It was so difficult with no good road for the morning run and without money to pay expensive gym charges.
Through this camp, I can train well because I’m provided with the facilities I need,” Bertha who trains in 400m said.
The 19-year-old said she wants to get a slot in Team Kenya during trials to be able to represent the country.
Athletics Kenya’s Youth Development director Barnaba Korir who toured the three camps said that the juniors are ready for the task ahead and appreciated the government for the efforts of giving them funds to support the camps.
Korir urged the coaches and other officials in charge of various camps to remain honest about the course to ensure that the youngsters produce good results.
“Defending a world title is not as easy as many will think. To make this happen, I want to tell coaches and other people who are concerned to work extra hard to come out with the best results,” said Korir.
Meanwhile, long-distance runner Jacob Krop has been a great inspiration to the upcoming athletes of the North Rift.
Away from his tight schedule, Krop, Africa Youth Championship 5000m silver medallist has found time to visit the Under 20 camp at Chewoyet National High School in West Pokot County, to give the youngsters tips on how to succeed in athletics. In West Pokot, against the backdrop of deep cultural beliefs and cattle rustling, Krop has been resourceful to the young athletes who are training in the camp.
The 21-year-old has represented Kenya at different competitions both at youth and junior levels. Chewoyet camp has 50 athletes majority specialising in track events.
They are part of 1,500 juniors drawn from 26 camps across the country preparing for the trials for the World Athletics Under 20 Championships slated for August 1 to 6 in Cali, Colombia.
“I have really enjoyed their company and I can tell you we have great talent here,” Krop said when he visited the camp where the athletes have been training.
“I joined them to give them hope and tell them that sports pay as long as you work hard and remain disciplined,” Krop added.
After winning silver at the Africa Youth Championships in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Krop would later defy all odds to make the cut in Team Kenya for the World Championships.
County executive officer for sport Peninnah Chesangat has urged athletes to be disciplined and shun vices that will destroy their running career.