•Of immediate concern to the youngster is a place at the World Under 20 Championships
•Last year, he competed at the national trials but he did not make the team
•The 17-year-old says he has benefitted immensely from the training camp
Johana Erot wants to keep the 3,000m steeplechase legacy as he prepares to compete for Kenya at the 2022 World Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.
The 17-year-old runner, who benefitted from the Athletics Kenya Under- 20 training camps at the Kamoi Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet County, said he was disappointed when Kenya lost the 3,000m steeplechase title at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
After missing last year’s World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, he said he wants to return in a big way.
" We have dominated this race for years and falling to the likes of Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali and Ethiopian Lamecha Girma is painful, to say the least," he noted.
“We must try and reclaim the 3,000m steeplechase glory after losing at the Olympics last year. We retained the World Under-20 title through Amos Serem and it must remain that in Cali,” said Erot.
Last year, he competed at the national trials but he did not make the team. He attributed the loss to poor preparations and lack of exposure.
“I used to run 10,000m but I was advised by my coach Boniface Tiren to try steeplechase and I am now doing well. I feel I am also ready for the big stage,” he said.
He explained that last year prior to World Under-20 Trials, he had only three months of training. "This time, I have had a good time preparing and I am simply ready for the big stage," he said.
He cited multiple World and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi and former Olympic 3,000m champion Brimin Kipruto as his role models.
“I was motivated to compete in steeplechase after seeing Kemboi, Kipruto, and others doing great things. They put our country on the world map and I want to do the same for this country,” he said.
The form three student at Biribriet Secondary School said he has benefitted immensely from the training camp and is keen to apply the lessons acquired.
“Here we have everything. We have enough hills for hill-work, flat course, track and field...all are here. We have everything that we need to run a steeplechase. We also have good weather unlike the area I used to train before in the lowlands in Birbiriet in Trans Nzoia county,” he said.
Erot added: “My focus is to ensure that I make the team for Colombia after enjoying my personal best of 9:10 set during national under 20 trials. I also competed at the North Rift regional championships at Tambach where I finished 4th but am ready for the challenges.”