National cross country team head coach Juma Ndiwa is hopeful the Kenyan junior teams will perform well at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country in Kampala, Uganda, next weekend.
The junior teams performed dismally during the previous edition held in China, failing to capture either of the two individual titles.
Ethiopia’s Yasin Haji won the boys’ title as Geoffrey Korir and Alfred Ngeno secured silver and bronze respectively.
In the junior women, Kenya suffered a blow after missing the podium slots and team title with Daisy Jepkemei the best performer at fourth.
However, Ndiwa believes that is history and Kenya is headed for a better performance in Uganda.
“I have more hopes that the overall team will perform well and we are confident of scooping individual titles,” Ndiwa said after a training session at the Kigari Teachers’ Training College, Embu.
“You can see that the junior team performed badly in Guiyang but the current squad is very strong and we are banking on them.”
He said that he was impressed by the fact that athletes showed cooperation in all aspects.
“When you see the athletes working in unity, then be confident of excellent performances. In order to win, unity is key.”
The junior contingent to Kampala is anchored by the experienced runners.
Commonwealth Youth and Africa Youth 3000m bronze medalist Richard Kimunyan and World Youth 3000m silver medallist Sandra Chebet captain the boys’ and girls’ teams respectively.
He said he used to compete in the cross country while still at primary school before switching to the track.
“I am happy that I qualified for the World Cross. It has been my dream to represent my country. Great performances will depend on the training and mental preparedness,” he said.
“I want to go and try my best to get the gold medal. I have trained well.”
He will team up with Amos Kirui the World Under 20 championships 3000m steeplechase champion.
Sandra who defended her national title is leading the onslaught in the women’s ring alongside Celliphine Chepsol.
Chepsol beat Chebet in the 3000m race at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Sheilah Chelangat, who got a bronze medal in 3000m at the World Youth championships in Cali is also in the fray.
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