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Chepng'etich to lead Kenya to Junior Championships

15 August 2013, 13:07

Nairobi - Experienced Sheila Chepng'etich, who finished sixth in the 2011 World Youth Championships in 1500m, has been named in a 21-member team for the Africa Junior Championships, which will be held in Mauritius.

Simon Wekesa, Athletics Kenya director of communications, said the team is strong and will be ready for the test in Mauritius, which starts on Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

"We held successful trial championships in Nairobi to come up with the 21 names. We had several teams competing representing North Rift, Central Rift, South Rift, Nairobi, Southern, Central and Nyanza regions," said Wekesa.

Most athletes were tired after a grueling World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine. As a result, Kenya is focusing on exposing the second string athletes for the continental championships, with an eye on helping them develop ahead of next year's World Junior Championships in Oregon, USA.

During the last African junior championships in Gaborone, Botswana in 2011, South Africa topped the medal table with 13 gold and 13 silver medals.

Both Ethiopia and Egypt won in six events, while Kenya and Nigeria rounded out the top five. Kenya finished fourth with four gold medals, 11 silver and 3 bronze. At least 17 nations were able to clinch a medal in the last championships.

Those selected by Kenya will have it rough to attain this feat, especially days after the successful Kenya team did well at the senior World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

Gregory Kilonzo and Hosea Sang will coach the team.

The continental championships attract over 800 upcoming track and field athletes.

Last month, a statement by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) awarded Mauritius the chance to stage the event, after neither Johannesburg or Pretoria could guarantee the same.

"The African Junior Championships which was scheduled in Pretoria will now be held in Mauritius," read a statement from the Yaounde-based CAA.

The continental athletics meeting is meant for African athletes aged 19 years or younger. Over 700 athletes from 28 countries took part in the championships in 2011 staged in Gaborone, Botswana.

It featured 22 events for men and 22 events for women. South Africa's Pretoria was selected to replace Libreville (Gabon) to host the championships in January.

The decision was made during CAA executive meeting in Yaounde. CAA confirmed that both Pretoria and Libreville failed to convince CAA as the best alternative hosts, which informed the decision to pick on Mauritius.

However, Pretoria was also shelved for Johannesburg. But CAA was forced to look for another country after IAAF declined to recognize the ASA interim board having suspended the elected office for malpractice.

A total of 4 million U.S. dollars is required to stage the event, if a country has the standard equipment and warm-up tracks.

Rwanda won the bid to stage the championship during the CAA Congress in Porto Nova, Benin in July last year, on the periphery of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships, but withdrew their bid at the last minute after failing to meet the threshold and required Government support.

The last games were held in 2011 in Gaborone, Botswana. A total of 24 teams already confirmed participation in the championship after the initial expiry date for confirmation elapsed on Dec. 31.

Kenya Team:

Men - Kenneth Kirui (400m hurdles), Geoffrey Kiprotich (200m), Moses Bett (800m), Jonathan Kiprotich (800m), Kiplagat Cherono (long jump), Vincent Tarus (long jump), Mathew Kiptanui (1,500m), John Maina (1,500m), Alex Kiprotich (Javelin), Elvis Cheboi (10,000m), Josephat Kiprop (10,000m), Moses Mukono (5, 000m), Benard Kipkemboi (5,000m), John Koech (3,000m S/Chase) and Festus Kiprono (3,000m S/Chase).

Women - Agatha Jeruto (800m), Sheila Chepng'etich (3,000m), Miriam Muthoni (1,500m), Agnes Tirop (5,000m), Lina Cheruto (5, 000m) and Marion Kibor (3,000 S/Chase).

- Xinhua

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