Western keen to upset form book
As the 2020 World Under-20 Championships draws closer, junior athletes are stepping up preparations towards the global event slated for July 7-12 in Nairobi.
With Kenya having won the overall title at the 2018 Championships held in Tampere, Finland, Athletics Kenya (AK) is leaving nothing to chance, having set up 14 camps across the country for early preparations.
One of the camps is based at the Friends Moi High School, Kaptama in Bungoma County which hosts 61 athletes drawn from Western region’s Bungoma, Vihiga, Kakamega and Busia counties.
With Rift Valley having dominated the national team for ages, head coach Daniel Kororia is optimistic his charges will break the glass ceiling at the national trials in May. The tactician is hopeful a combination of track and field success will upset Rift Valley, who depend on long distance events.
The retired soldier is banking on national finalists such as Yona Kimutai (3,000m), Kelvin Kiptoo (5,000m) and Allan Kipyego who finished fourth at this year’s Africa Youth Games held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
“These athletes have a lot of potential and if they can be maintained in camp through the holidays, then we have a bright future ahead,” said Kororia.
“In our midst, we have sprinters, middle and long distances athletes as well as a number of field athletes. By diversification, I think we shall be a dominant force,” he added.
Meanwhile at Chewoyet National School in West Pokot County, 54 athletes have pitched camp as they also eye slots to the national team.
The camp has produced household names including the African Games 5,000m champion Robert Kiprop, national 5,000m champion Michael Kibet and World 5,000m finalist Jacob Krop who is among the athletes currently training in the camp under the tutelage of Edward Moti.
Moti, who also doubles as a physics and mathematics teacher at the school, said his charges are motivated by the trio thus expecting a good outing when the trials are held.
“When these athletes see Krop here, that is enough motivation as it gives them confidence that they can succeed by following on the same path,” said Moti.
“Also, we have introduced a new programme in our training where we are currently shifting to scientific format. We are trying to adapt to the way of competing internationally and we hope we can give a good account of ourselves at the trials,” added the tactician.