Athletics Kenya (AK) are seeking a better performance at the second CAA Africa Youth Championships after naming a strong squad of 23 to represent the country at the continental age track and field event that runs from April 22 to 26 in Mauritius.
Consequently, the squad named on Wednesday after the conclusion of two-days Trials at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium will report to camp next Tuesday.
AK vice-president in charge of Youth Development, Lt. General (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, called on girls’ to pull up their socks to enable equal selection in future with nine of them making the team against 14 boys’.
“Team selection as well as vetting and confirmation of agents should be done at regional level to enable the national office have the names in time and prepare for the start list early.
“I also instruct schools to start registering their athletes before entering in competitions for our database,” he declared with age verification proving to be a problem at the Trials.
AK adopted a rigorous vetting system two years ago when some of the athletes who showed up for the inaugural CAA Africa Youth Trials that were held in Wrri, Nigeria were prevented from competition when discrepancies were found in their papers.
-Chebet to lead squad-
The Mauritius team will be fronted by Africa Junior women 3000m bronze medallist, Sandrafelis Chebet who recovered from losing a slot in the girls’ 1500m team where she finished third to win the 2000m steeplechase final on Wednesday.
Chebet won the water and barriers race in 6:26.0 ahead of Ann Gathoni of Coast who had led for much of the race before trailing off in the final two laps to arrive two seconds adrift of the winner at the end.
“I was trying my luck after failing to make it in the 1500m. I realized that I still had energy and that’s when I pushed myself to the limit at the end and I can see gold coming my way,” the relieved Chebet said.
The Chebet family had double cause for celebration when twin sister, Emily won the 3000m girls’ trial to be included in the team as the solo female athlete for the race.
Fellow Kericho born and South Rift runner, Vincent Kipyegon took the honours in the corresponding men’s race in a wire to wire performance in 5:28.2 as Nixon Kiplagat came second to join him in the Mauritius team.
“I trained well for the race since I wanted to revenge my Africa junior’s performance where I finished fourth. I expect gold because I have experience,” the runner whose role models are Kericho born steeplechase circuit star, Paul Kipsiele Koech and two-time Olympics champion, Ezekiel Kemboi narrated.
Davis Kiplagat and Richard Yator followed each other home for the 1-2 to earn the tickets in the men 3000m race.
Betty Chepkemoi will plough the lone furrow in the girls’ 800m after crushing the competition with the boys’ equivalent slots handed to Kipyegon Bett and Sila Kimeli who ran to the top two at the keenly contested Trials.
Triple jumper Vincent Kilel and Javelin hopeful, Emmanuel Kipng’etich are the only field athletes in the squad that will be led by coaches Paul Kipkemboi and Esther Kavaya.
The team that departs on April 21 is tasked with bettering the Warri harvest of five gold, four silver and two bronze that placed Kenya in overall fifth.
100m – Arron Kimutai (boys), Damaris Akoth (girls)
200m – Markson Sirere (boys), Damaris Akoth (girls)
800m – Kipyegon Bett, Sila Kimeli (boys) Betty Chepkemoi (girls)
1500m – Brimin Kiprono, Kimaru Tarus (boys) Janeth Chepng’etich, SandraFelis Chebet (girls)
2000m s/chase – Vincent Kipyegon, Nixon Kiplagat (boys) Sandrafelis Chebet, Ann Gathoni (girls)
3000m – Davis Kiplagat, Richard Yator (boys) Emily Chebet, Sheila Chelangat (girls)
Javelin – Emmnuel Kipng’etich
Triple jump – Vincent Kilel.
Coaches – Paul Kipkemboi, Esther Kavayi
Team Manager – Paul Kiriako
Chaperone – Matinda Soi
Physiotherapist – Dr. Kevin Otieno.