•Kenya's has ruled the water-and-hurdles race for the past 53 years in the Olympics until last year in Tokyo
•Korir is adamant that the supply line of talent in the race is laden with promising runners
•He is also expecting tough competition in the steeplechase as Kenyans fight to reclaim the top honour
Athletics Kenya (AK) youth development committee chair, Barnaba Korir, says fears that Kenya has lost its dominance in the men's 3000m steeplechase are unfounded.
Kenya's has ruled the water-and-hurdles race for the past 53 years in the Olympics until last year in Tokyo when Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali clinched gold — the first time in over five decades that a Kenyan has missed out on the top gong.
However, Korir believes losing is a normal thing and should indeed inspire Kenyans to fight back to reclaim the crown.
"When you lose, it gives you the motivation to fight back...just like our steeplechase athletes are trying to do. In a competition setting, it is a mistake to believe that you can never be beaten. That is not the spirit of sportsmanship. Losing is a normal thing...what matters is what you do to come back better," Korir said.
The latest heartbreak the country has suffered, as far as the 3000m steeplechase is concerned, was at last weekend's Senior Africa Athletics Championships in Mauritius, where Geoffrey Kirwa was the best performing Kenya, finishing third in 8:29.74.
The loss came only a week after Ethiopian Lamecha Girma stormed to victory in the men's 3000m steeplechase at the Rome Diamond League, ahead of the 2016 Africa Championship bronze medalist, Abraham Kibiwott.
Notwithstanding, Korir is adamant that the supply line of talent in the race is laden with promising runners who will soon take the country to the pinnacle.
He is also expecting tough competition in the steeplechase as Kenyans fight to reclaim the top honour.
"I am not worried at all because we have some exciting talent coming through. We have young boys such as Serem (Amos), and Ismael Kirui among others. We also have the experienced ones, such as Abraham (Kibiwott) so I don't believe it is a lost cause," Korir said.
He added: "We have the Ethiopians coming up really well as well as El Bakkali who is the Olympic champion. I expect this to be one of the most competitive race categories in the coming years."
He further expressed optimism that Kenya's five-star performance at the continental showpiece will transmit all the way to the national trials for the World Championship and Commonwealth Games.
The trials are set for next weekend at Moi Stadium, Kasarani and Korir has urged all athletes to ensure they have met the anti-doping test requirements for both competitions.
"Most of those who won medals in Mauritius have met the cut for either the World Championship or the Commonwealth so they will be able to compete at the trials. However, we will also have to consider whether they have met the testing requirements. The conditions for running in Mauritius may not have been so stringent but this will not be the case this time around," he said.
Fans have also been urged to turn up in numbers for the two-day trials to motivate the athletes as they battle to make it to Oregon and Birmingham for the two assignments.