Kenya sprints coach Andrew Maritim says country has strong team to deliver in short races
Kenya sprints coach Andrew Maritim is confident Kenya will shine in short races at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships set to kick off today at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Kenya has fielded athletes in all the sprints events including 100m, 200m, 400m and 400m hurdles for both men and women as well 100m hurdles women and 110m hurdles for men, mixed relay team and the men’s 4x400m team.
Having proven a popular addition to U18 and senior championships in recent years, the mixed 4x400m will make its World U20 Championships debut in Nairobi and Maritim is bullish that it will be an event watch.
Kenya has often performed above expectation in mixed relay events in recent years, something head Maritim expects to continue on Wednesday during the finals.
“We have a strong team that has Elikanah Kiprotich, Sylvia Jelangat, Kennedy Kimeu and Loice Morara that will fly our flag,” said Maritim.
The heats will be held at 9am in the morning with the finals set for 5.15pm. The heats of the individual men’s and women’s 400m will be held midday Wednesday.
Maritim feels some teams may be hesitant to draft their best runners into the relay team.
“We shall not dwell so much on how our opponents will field their athletes. We have been training for the past one month and I am very happy with our progress.
My athletes are relaxed and we are just waiting for the competition.
Our target is for them to first make it to the finals and then fight for a podium finish,” said Maritim.
Maritim expects a stiff challenge from Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa and Poland who should have enough depth to field competitive teams for all relays as well as the individual 400m events.
“Jamaica and South Africa took silver and bronze respectively at the 2017 World U18 Championships here in Nairobi. Poland on the other hand won the inaugural mixed relay at the recent Olympic Games.
So we have our work cut out,” noted Maritim who said the Kenyan junior athletes are ready to make forays in the sprints at the global event.