•Athletes will receive pairs of training shoes from Nike in addition to others to be provided by Athletics Kenya
•AK director of youth development admits that the restructured school calendar destabilised the federation's programmes for Under-20 team selection
•Plans in place for a bubble camp for the sprinters and field athletes
Athletes, who make the final team for the World Athletics Under-20 Championships will receive proper training gear and equipment ahead of a specialised bubble camp planned by Athletics Kenya.
AK's director of youth development, Barnaba Korir, admitted that many junior athletes across the country have struggled in training and regional pre-trials owing to lack of proper equipment.
"Most of the athletes are very young and may have not had enough resources with which to train and to compete. AK have also tried to assist them throughout the country with these necessities especially during the Covid period. We have requested some training shoes from Nike, which will be immediately provided to the athletes after the trials, in addition to that which AK will provide," Korir said.
Korir also admitted that the restructured school calendar — due to Covid-19 — has also affected AK's plans to identify budding talent at the grassroots, although this has been somewhat mitigated by the ongoing regional pre-trials.
"The school calendar has always been set in a way that it fits our programme of activities. So, the change in the school programme has subsequently affected our activities as we had planned. Covid-19 has created a lot of confusion," he said.
Despite these challenges, Korir is impressed by the level of performance in the pre-trials thus far, particularly in field events in which he notes there is room for improvement.
"Yes, we are planning on a bubble camp for these athletes as soon as we identify them. We have seen some impressive field athletes in the pre-trials so far; we know the South Rift has a few talents in the long jump and javelin whereas Kapsabet has talented athletes in javelin. We have the support of Sports Kenya and as soon as we identify these athletes, we will be able to put them in a bubble camp at Kasarani, alongside the sprinters," he said.
Korir was speaking at the Nyayo Stadium on Wednesday morning during the Nairobi region pre-trials for the World Under-20 Championships, slated for August 17-22 at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
In the 5,000m, Langata's Fancy Chepkorir timed 17:03.0 to finish first ahead of Embakasi's Ann Wanjira (17:51.4) and Langata's Sheila Cherop (18:58.7) in second and third respectively.
Rongai's Jonathan Kipkoech was imperious in the boys' 5,000m, clocking 14:01.6 to finish ahead of Dennis Kipkirui of Langata (14:03.7) and Rongai's Victor Chepkwony (14:16.0).
Kipkoech and Kipkirui had earlier clashed in the 3,000m steeplechase in which the former reigned supreme, finishing first in 8:06.0 ahead of Kipkirui (8:10.5) whereas Raphael Dapash finished third in 8:25.1.
In the girls' 1500m, Diana Chepkemoi lead a 1-2-3 finish for Langata as she beat the tape first in 4:34.1 whereas Miriam Chemutai (4:34.3) and Daisy Chepkorir (4:41.5) finished second and third respectively.
Vincent Keter lead a 1-2 finish for Rongai in the boys' 1500m, finishing first in 3:54.2 ahead of Victor Mutai (3:54.5). Langata's Tenai Kipruto finished third in 3:56.3.
The national trials for the championships is slated for July 1-3 at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.