NAIROBI, October 8 – The Commonwealth Youth team on Wednesday received the national flag from Sports Minister Professor Helen Sambili at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The 27-strong contingent left the country later in the afternoon for Pune, India which will be holding the third edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games that take place from October 12-18.
Ms Sambili wished the team well after working hard in training camp and expressed optimism that they would return home with medals.
“The officials who are going with the team have been working closely with athletes and will be able to guide and lead these children. So I am confident they will perform well in their effort to represent our country,” said Ms Sambili.
She urged the team to maintain the high standards that have been set by the Olympics and Paralympics teams in Beijing last month.
The Minister said the government would still play an important role in rewarding sports men and women for their excellent performance, they are the ambassadors of the country.
“We are keen to encourage talent development and appreciate the efforts made by our athletes by rewarding them with cash, just like the juniors who came from Poland,” she explained.
Ms Sambili praised the team and told them to fly the country’s flag high by being focused and portraying self-determination against their opponents.
National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman Kipchoge Keino told the team to improve Kenya’s medal tally in international events in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics.
Sports Secretary Daniel Maanzo, who was also present at the venue, requested all stakeholders to be involved in the development and nurturing of local talent at the grass root level.
The assistant junior team captain Jwaa Keter believes that the team has everything it needs to make an impression at the games, due to high morale within the team and support from Kenyans.
“It’s a good chance for us because everyone is ready as they are willing to give 100% in the championships following the preparations done by our coaches, we are hoping for the best,” said Ms Keter.
Kenya will be represented in athletics, boxing, table-tennis, swimming, badminton, lawn tennis and wrestling.