NAIROBI (July 7) – One of the strongest athletics nations in Africa, Algeria, and a Latin American nation jetted in to Nairobi on Friday as preparations for the 10th IAAF World Under 18 Championships reached fever pitch on Friday.
Algeria brought in a team of 21 that included African junior heptathlon champion, Aratbia Asmaa Baya, 17.
Looking all set for the championships, Baya, whose long jump mark of 6.02 metres is among the longest, appeared confident of a gold medal in the heptathlon event.
Algeria team leader, Ahmim Said, said they have entered athletes in 1,500m, 3,000m, 2000m SC, heptathlon, 100m, 200m, 400m and 10km walk.
“We have confidence that our athletes will perform well in these championships, although we know we are competing against the home side, who are very strong in middle and long distance races,” said Kessat Tarik, the head coach.
They were also accompanied by women’s coach, Zitouni Youiua, who coaches Baya.
Argentina, better known for its Barcelona FC football star striker, Lionel Messi, arrived shortly after the Qatar Airways plane carrying Algerian team touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly after 3pm.
Early in the morning, Namibia, the home of former Olympic Games 200m silver medallist and one of the continent’s most decorated athlete, Frankie Fredericks, jetted in while another Latin American nation, Chile, and Caribbean nations Bahamas and Cuba, were due to arrive on Friday night.
Poland were the first to arrive on Tuesday followed by Oman.