NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Kenya will be out to top the globe at the World Under-20 Championships scheduled to take place from July 10-15 in Tampere, Finland as Athletics Kenya prepares to conduct trials on Monday and Tuesday next week at the Kasarani Stadium.
Head coach, Robert Ngirisei is confident the team that will be selected will flag Kenya’s flag high as they seek to improve last edition’s results where the East African athletics powerhouse bagged 5 medals; 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze to finish second in the overall ranking with USA ruling the world.
“I have been talking to and monitoring most of these youthful athletes. I’m confident the team we shall select will reclaim the overall title,” he told the Star on phone.
As the norm, Kenya will face stiff competition from perennial rivals Ethiopia and Uganda, but Ngisirei was optimistic his charges will come out victors.
“These two countries will give us a run for our money because we shall renew our rivalry in most of the events,” Ngirisei, who led the Kenyan team to clinching the overall title during the World Junior championships in Moncton Canada, added.
The coach has confirmed that Kenya will field athletes in other disciplines including sprints where World Under-18 silver medalist in the 400m Mary Moraa is expected to qualify.
“We are not going to rely on middle and long distance events for medals,” he added.
“Most of the U-18 stars are likely to make it to the Finland bound team but there are several other upcoming athletes who were not able to participate in the under 18 and are very good,” he said.
Some of the athletes Ngirisei expects to do well at Kasarani and in Tampere are World under-18 1, 500m gold medalist George Manangoi, Mary Moraa, 2, 000m steeple chase junior champion Leonard Bett. Other junior champions expected are Caren Chebet (2, 000m), Jackline Wambui (800m).
Africa Cross Country junior men’s champion Rhonex Kipruto and silver medalist Stanley Waithaka together with Commonwealth 5000m bronze medalist Edward Zakayo are expected to battle it out for places in the Team Kenya.