NAIROBI (July 4) – The National Under 18 team currently in residential training for next week’s IAAF World Under-18 Championships have asked Kenyans to pray for them to go top of the world for a third time.
Kenya hosts the global competition between July 12-16 at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani. Poland, who has hosted the competition twice, are due in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday, the first team to arrive for the event.
When we caught up with the Kenyan team at their hotel in South C suburb, the team was beaming with confidence, apparently ready to conquer the world for a third time following in their triumph in Poland in 1999 during the inaugural championships and in Italy in 2007.
Gekonyo Kariuki is heading a strong coaching staff, which comprises Andrew Maritim (sprints), Stevel Lagat, Robert Ngisirei and Moses Kiplagat (middle/long distance), Andrew Maritim and Rose Tata (sprints and hurdles), Caroline Kola (jumps) and Nicholas Mureithi (throws).
Claire Limo is the chaperone. She says: “We have a well-rounded team who are ready to conquer the world again. They are under professional and dedicated technical staff who are doing a great job here.
“We are doing very well. We have ensured that we have guided diet and the team is mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually fit; we have a very good team and excellent working relationship between coaches, officials and athletes,” she said.
The team are resident at Milele Hotel in South C and train at nearby grounds like CID ground, Nyayo National Stadium, Kenya Prisons, but occasionally go all the way to Jamhuri Park and Ngong Forests. They proceed to camp on Sunday ready to tackle the world three days later. They reported to camp on June 19 and started training the following day.
The team of 31 girls and 29 boys are all in camp. They don’t train together all the time because each category has its own needs and requirements.
“We are working on endurance and speed. We have also done mileage, power and handling the youth’s psyche. Everybody is in good shape except a few niggling injuries but that are manageable,” said Lagat.
Some prefer the gym, especially the sprinters and throwers.
“Kenyans should pray for us and give us moral support. We are urging all Kenyans to come and support the team during the championships. Let them hold their horses with politics.
Government should facilitate this by waiving entrance fees to attract more fans,” the coaches said.
GIRLS: Nusra Rukia (100m H), Josephine Akinyi (shot putt), Gloria Mulei (Long Jump/Triple Jump), Emmaculate Chepkirui (3,000m), Mary Moraa (200m/400m), Jackline Wambui (800m), Mercy Chepkirui (2,000m SC), Iryne Chepkoech (100m), Caren Chebet (2,000m SC), Beatrice Chebet (3,000m), Philian Kerubo (100m H), Beatrice Anyango (100m/200m), Peninah Akoth (Shot Putt), Irene Akinyi (400m H), Shantel Precious (Hammer), Faith Kipsang (High Jump), Regina Joshua (5,000m Walk), Harriet Chiluyi (Discus), Rachel Nzangi (1,500m), Lenah Nanjala (5,000m Walk), Vivian Jeptoo (Discus), Christabel Abuti (Hammer), Edinah Jebitok (1,500m), Sharon Chebet (400m), Lydia Jeruto (800m), Margaret Akal (High Jump), Leah Jeruto (400m H), Dorothy Jepngetich (Javelin), Janet Biwott (Triple Jump/Long Jump), Cynthia Chebet (Javelin);
David Samaek (400m), Leonard Kipkemoi Bett (2,000m SC), Japheth Kibiwott Toroitich (800m), Noah KIprono (800m), Raynold Kipkorir (Shot Putt), Cleophas Kandie (2,000m SC), Dominic Kipkemboi (1,500m), Ita Nao (Javelin), Elijah Matayo (100m/200m), Dominic Samson (10,000m Walk), Joseph Nyakundi (Shot Putt), James Mushena (110m H), Vincent Kilel (Long Jump/Triple Jump), Oroni Jimmy (10,000m Walk), Kevin Nyagondo (100m), Edward Zakayo (3,000m), Stanley Mburu (3,000m), Philemon Kowari (200m), Evans Kipchirchir (High Jump), George Manangoi (1,500m), Moitalel Mpoke (400m H), David Saruni (400m H), Victor Kiplimo (Hammer), Micah Kipkirui (High Jump), Andrew Rukono (Hammer), Kelvin Sane (400m), Peter Wambua (110m H), Nicholas Kiprotich Korir (Javelin/Discus), Musyoka Mwema (Triple Jump/Long Jump).
Isaack Omulo (www.wu18nairobi2017.com)