•Athletics Kenya (AK) youth sub-committee secretary, Joseph Ilovi, was yesterday upbeat that Kenya will surpass last year’s performance when they won three gold medals.
•Speaking after the second batch of Team Kenya arrived in Dar for the two-day event, Ilovi said the Under-18/20 athletes are raring to go.
Team Kenya for the Eastern Africa U18/20 is plotting to dethrone perennial rivals Ethiopia when the annual event gets underway at the Benjamin William Mkapa Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam today.
Athletics Kenya (AK) youth sub-committee secretary, Joseph Ilovi, was yesterday upbeat that Kenya will surpass last year’s performance when they won three gold medals.
Speaking after the second batch of Team Kenya arrived in Dar for the two-day event, Ilovi said the Under-18/20 athletes are raring to go.
“Last year, Ethiopia emerged overall winners but we only fielded 10 athletes who were handpicked. This year, we did a proper trial and selected athletes who we believe will deliver overall titles in both under 18 and under 20,” Ilovi said on phone from Dar-esp-salaam.
Ilovi, however, expects a stiff challenge from perennial rivals Ethiopia and Uganda, especially in the middle and long-distance races. Uganda did not take part in last year’s event.
Other countries in the Dar event are hosts Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea and South Sudan.
“It’s going to be a very competitive event but I’m confident Kenya will reclaim the overall title. We want to continue with our dominance and we are lucky we have very talented athletes. These are future world beaters,” said Ilovi.
During the trials at Nyayo National Stadium two weeks ago, AK picked 31 athletes mostly sprinters and middle distance for the showpiece.
Among the star attractions will be Commonwealth Games 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala’s young brother Isaac Omurwa and national primary schools 100m record holder Selfa Ojiambo.
Ojiambo is a standard eight pupil at Nang’ina boarding primary school in Busia courtesy of a scholarship from the Kenya Academy of Sports.
Marion Jepng’etich and Diana Cherotich, who missed a chance to represent Kenya at World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia due to visa hitches made the cut for the regional championship and are favourites for gold in 5, 000m.
The duo is set for a thrilling battle in the race after a neck-to-neck finish during the trials at Nyayo.
Under 20 women: Marion Jepng’etich, Diana Cherotich (5, 000m), Judy Kemunto (400m), Evaline Chepkoech (400m), Irene Chepkemboi (javeline), M ercy Chepkemoi (1,500), Diana Khisa (200m) and Penina mutisya (200m).
Under 20 men: Nicholas Kipng’etich (long jump), Justus Nyamai (5, 000m), Sebastian Kakaya, Sammy Kiplang’at (400m), Isaac Omurwa (100m), Brian Kiptum and Wesley Kibet (800m).
Under 18 women: Jensine Ligoo (long jump), Beatrice Machoka, Mercy Bosibori (400m), Nancy Cherop (3, 000m), Sharon Moraa, Jackline Onguyo, Selfa Ajiambo (100m), Christine Musembi (javelin) and Dorcas Chepkemoi (800m).
Under 18 men: Samuel Toili, Naman Kirui (400m), Brian Muange (1, 500m), Duncan Kipng’eno, Chris Kimurgor (200m), Evans Kipkosgei (5, 000m), Amos Kipkemoi and Kelvin Koech (800m).