•Athletes say they are not worried about the underdog tag at the national championships
• The national championship begins Tuesday morning until Thursday
•Coast held their regional championship on Saturday at Mbaraki Sports Club
Athletes who qualified to represent the Coast region at the Athletics Kenya national championship are optimistic they will do their birthplace proud by producing great results.
The region held its championships on Saturday at Mbaraki Sports Club after which a team to Nairobi was named.
Caleb Munyalo will lead the 5000m assault after winning the regional contest in 15:30.17 ahead of Richard Mulu (15:42.22) and Teddy Mwaringa (16:32.66).
Munyalo said he is physically and mentally ready to battle with the best in the 12-and-a-half-lap race.
"I am glad that today's race went according to plan. My focus now is on the national trials and I will work hard to get on the podium. I know the favourites for the race are the runners from Rift Valley but I will do my best to upset them," Munyalo said.
For Mulu, a trip to Nairobi will be an opportunity to redeem himself after he finished eighth at the national trials for the World Under 20 Championships last year.
"The last time I was in Nairobi things didn't go well. I competed in the men's 3000m but I was not in the best shape so I ended up eighth. This time I am feeling better and I thank God for today's performance,"Mulu said.
In the men's 1500m, Taita Taveta's Boniface Mutia stormed across the finish line in 3:58 as Morris Mulanchi (4:06) and Daniel Baraka (4:54).
Mutia said he will be using the national championships as part of his preparations for the national trials for the World Under 20 Championships to be held in Cali, Colombia.
"Last time I ran at the national cross country championships but I didn't perform well due to the tough course. This time, I am going to do my best in Nairobi and come back with a great result," Mutia said.
The national championships begins Tuesday morning until Thursday and will double up as trials for the Senior Africa Athletics Championship in Reduit, Mauritius in June.