Junior stars return from France after month-long French specialised training ahead of tourney

Thursday, May 5th, 2022 06:20 | By
Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley gestures after jetting in at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday morning. INSET: Kerley takes a selfie with a fan upon arrival to Kenya for the Kip Keino Classic. PD/ SPORTPICHA

World Under-20 400m bronze medallist Sylvia Chelang’at and Elkanah Kiprotich were singled out as the standout performers after the completion of a month-long specialised training in Miramas, France.

The duo was part of 11 juniors selected by Athletics Kenya (AK) to undergo training as the country intensifies preps for World Athletics Under-20 Championships due August 1 to 6 this year in Cali, Colombia.

It was double jubilation for Chelang’at who performed well during the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.

“I’m extremely happy happy to have passed my secondary school examination. The results were released while I was in France, I want to balance between my studies and running career,” said Chelang’at who scored a B plain from Lelu Secondary School in Kericho County and now hopes to secure scholarship to go study in the United States.

Upon arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday night,  Chelang’at said she will be going to Cali full of confidence.

“ My reaction from the blocks was slow and if there is something I have improved is that one, my stay in France has helped me improve. I was able to train under some facilities I had never seen before, besides the experience, I gained, taking my maiden flight was humbling,” she added.

On his part, Kiprotich, who was in the quartet that claimed bronze in 4x400m,at the 2021 World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi too produced good times.

“I managed to hit the qualifying mark for Cali, so I can say my training program was very successful.

I know there are areas to polish because my target is to reach the 400m final in Cali and finish on the podium, having reached the semi-finals in Nairobi last year,” said Kiprotich, who has a career personal best of 46.79 seconds.

Coach Andrew Maritim said the athletes also competed in two events where they were trying  and to attain the qualifying standards for the World Under-20 Athletics Championships.

“It’s a great opportunity for youngsters to get exposed to good facilities and modern style of training in sprints and field events, “said Maritim adding that

Sports is becoming more scientific and therefore it was great for the juniors to get to know the biomechanics of spirit running.

“We come back with alot of lessons and also having made alot of friends in Miramas, this migh only be a start but I know there will be more of such programs in future,” said Maritim who is hopeful up to seven sprinters will make the team for Cali.

At the JKIA, team was received by AK Youth Sub Committee officials led by the national junior team head coach Robert Ngisirei, Joseph Ilovi and Mary Keitany.

Ngisirei exhibiting confident Kenya will retain the overall title at this year’s World Under-20 Championships to be held in Cali, Colombia.

Ngisirei added that he hoped Athletics Kenya will strike partnerships with countries that are good in sprints and field events to help Kenya junior athletes improve their skills.

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