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Tight competition as Kenya select U18 team

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Athletes take part in the hurdles race at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – The team that will represent Kenya at next month’s World Under-18 Championship will be unveiled on Wednesday evening after the completion of a rigorous two day trials at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The trials will also double up as a selection field for athletes to represent Kenya at the African Youth Championships and the Youth Commonwealth Games as well.

Competition was stiff on day one of the trials with Athletics Kenya hoping to select a huge group of athletes especially for the field events as Kenya looks to bag as many medals as possible at home when the U-18 age cadre competitions holds its final edition.

On Tuesday, Brian Gichana of Nyanza South and Nicholas Leparon from Nairobi’s Riruta Secondary School booked a place in the team after registering qualifying times in the 400m hurdles during the opening day of trials yesterday.

Gichana led from the start, displaying admirable hurdling skills on the way to win the final in 53.18 seconds while Leparon managed to finish second stopping the clock in 53.26seconds after a spirited chase in the final 40 metres.

Third placed James Mucheru recorded a finishing time of 53.97 which was within the time cut for the competition but he was not selected into the team as only the first two across the line were getting tickets to the championship.

“I’m happy I made it but I know there are good sprinters and hurdlers from other countries who will come to Nairobi. I will train harder so that I win a medal for my country,” Gichana shyly said after winning the race.

None of the ten girls who participated in two 400m hurdles heats finished within qualifying time but they have a chance of lowering their times during Wednesday’s finals. Irene Akinyi of Nyamza South came closest to the 62.25 qualifying mark with her 62.47 winning time in heat one while Leah Jeruto of North Rift, winner in heat two could only muster a further 63.83.

In the U20 400m hurdles race, Yasin Kibet of Central Rift attained the qualifying time for African U20 championships set for Algeria. Kibet clocked 51:40 to claim victory ahead of Edwin Siele whose 53.83 was outside the required standard.

Dominic Ndigiti stridesto victory in the 10,000m walk at the trials on June 12, 2017. PHOTO/Courtesy

Elsewhere, Dominic Ndigiti of Kiendege Secondary School will represent the country in the 10,00m walk after winning way beyond the qualification marl, clocking 44:14.9 with the qualification mark at 47:00.

Samson, still panting from his hard work said he hopes to train harder before July 12 when the championship starts at Kasarani and is confident he can get Kenya a medal in the discipline.

Only one athlete will represent Kenya in the Africa U20 championships 10000m walk after the rest of the field were either disqualified or did not finish the race.

Earlier on, Edna Chebitok of Estate primary school in Keringet booked her place in today’s final of 1500m, leading a cabal of talented athletes in that field.

Lydia Cheptarus, Esther Borura and Sharine Chepkemei all made the cut from that heat and will duel with Rachel Nzangi, Macline Cherono and Janeth Chepkoech who also qualified from the subsequent heat.

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