With one week remaining to the last edition of the World Under18 Championships, the Kenyan charges are beaming with confidence of winning medals at home.
The 60-member team that has been training in Nairobi after the selection last month will be flying the national flag at home where over 130 countries will be competing in the biannual contest at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.
On Tuesday, Kenyatta University handed over the facility which will be used as the athletics village during the championships that runs from Wednesday July 12th to Sunday July 16th.
The squad of track and field youths moved into the residential training last month and stayed at Milele Hotel as they intensified their preparations with the sole aim of winning as many medals as possible.
“Our final preparations have given us opportunity to work on weak areas and we are encouraged with the spirit of the squad. The team has trained well,” said team’s head coach Francis Gikonyo when the team joined the event’s Patron First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Local Organizing Committee members and the Ministry of Sports officials during the inspection of the venue for the championship.
During the selection at Nyayo National Stadium on June 13th and 14th, Athletics Kenya picked a 59-member team comprising of mainly school boys and girls aged 16 and 17 years for the event that is marking its 10th anniversary this year.
“As we host the world in Nairobi, we have to win as many medal as possible since we shall be competing at home. The selected team is equal to the task,” said Athletics Kenya Youth Committee chairman Barnabas Korir, who is also the WU18 Team Manager.
More than 400 boys and girls born between 200 and 2001 and those below 20 took part in the energy-draining trial that saw Kenya sent those aged 18 and 19 years to Africa Junior Championships where the country won a total of 11 medals last week in Algeria.
Athletics Kenya President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei has called on Kenyans and athletics fans to turn up in large numbers during the championships that will take place at Kasarani to boast the morale of team.
“Kenya picked the best team this year. We are sure of finishing on top of the medal table not only on by bagging medals on the track but also in the field. Our selectors settled on the best that will be flying our national flag even after this World Championships,” said the President, who is also the chairman of the Nairobi WU18 Local Organizing Committee.
While training in Nairobi, the team consolidated the spirit of teamwork as well as undergoing physical and mental training with experts giving them both moral and material support.
Kenya has been dominating in the championships since its inception in Poland in 1999 where the country emerged the overall winners.
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