• The 10,000m has been Kenya's biggest weakness having last won an Olympic gold medal in 1968 through Naphtali Temu at the Mexico Olympics.
• A total of 42 athletes will be selected on Saturday to join a three-week Team Kenya residential training camp at Kigari Teachers' Training College, Embu as they step up their preparations for the African Cross Country Championships in Lome, Togo.
Athletics Kenya will use Saturday's National Cross Country Championships at Ngong Racecourse, Nairobi to identify potential athletes to compete in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics.
AK Youth Development Committee chair Barnaba Korir said the federation is working closely with the National Olympics Committee of Kenya to develop a special camp to fine-tune the athletes' skills.
"This is something we have discussed with the AK president (Jack Tuwei), the director of competitions (Paul Mutwii) and NOC-K. We want to set up the camp to prepare athletes for both 10,000m and 5,000m so that they can compete well against the Ugandans and even Mo Farah," Korir said.
Korir said they will focus on all the athletes competing across the seven categories at the cross country championships.
The categories include 10km for both men and women, under-20 men and women (8km), under-18 boys and girls' (6km) and mixed relays.
"The under-18 category was added by the Confederation of African Athletics to give a chance to upcoming athletes especially after World Athletics scrapped under 18 competitions. So we will analyse individual and overall performances before ranking them," he said.
The 10,000m has been Kenya's biggest weakness having last won an Olympic gold medal in 1968 through Naphtali Temu at the Mexico Olympics.
However, 2021 holds a lot of promise because many of the athletes seeking to compete are in hot form, such as Kibiwott Kandie, Geoffrey Kamworor, Charles Mneria and Bedan Karoki.
Korir, who has been visiting various regions during the different cross country events, said many athletes have upped their game and are thirsty for victory.
"Regional teams are now much competitive than before. They are going to pose a big challenge to our institutions that have been dominant for a while. Everybody is eager to perform. Most of the athletes have not competed for a long time," said Korir.
World Half Marathon record holder Kandie and his predecessor Geoffrey Kamworor are expected to renew their rivalry in the senior men's 10km race.
Muneria, who won gold in the 2016 African Cross Country Championship is also in the mix as is 2015 World Cross Country silver medalist Karoki.
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri will battle with national cross country defending champion Sheila Chelangat and Olympics 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng, among others.
A total of 42 athletes will be selected on Saturday to join a three-week Team Kenya residential training camp at Kigari Teachers' Training College, Embu as they step up their preparations for the African Cross Country Championships in Lome, Togo.
Korir was speaking at Riadha House, Nairobi where betting firm Lotto disbursed Sh7 million to facilitate the event.
Lotto Chief Executive Officer Joan Mwaura said the national cross country is going to shape up the sports scene this year.
"Education is good but sports is a career option and a feasible platform for growth. We hope to grow this from the grassroots in a bid to nurture talent. We will support our athletes as they prepare for the Olympics," Mwaura said.
She encouraged athletes to take sports seriously and take it as a profession and a viable employment platform. This is the sixth year the firm is partnering with AK.