Kenya's new talents to shine at WYC
17 June 2013, 18:16
Nairobi - The arrival of each new sports sensation prompts a rummage through the roots of the competitor's history a fascination with what has gone into the making of this champion.
But out of Africa there is now always something new, and faster. And the world had better accept that, in middle distance and endurance terms, Kenyans are likely to be faster than any of their rivals can parade.
The World Youth Championships set to take place from July 10-14 in Donetsk, Ukraine and though many will be expectant of Kenya youngsters who prevailed in Barcelona World Junior last year and Lille (France) World Youth in 2011, many new talents have sprout out to stake claim to the few available places.
"Kenya always have new athletes coming in through the ranks. There are big names, but when we have a national championships, there is always a chance for surprise, this is an area the country thrives in," Kenya's youth Coach Japheth Kemei said.
The Kenyan squad was taken through a thorough vetting process and will report for a two-week training camp in Nairobi on Friday and will depart to Donetsk on July 5.
Kenya face a tough challenge in Donetsk, where they have to improve on their second performance.
Two years ago, it was the U.S. that ruled the roost with 16 medals - six gold, four silver and six bronze while Kenya came in second with 14 medals - five gold, five silver and four bronze with Jamaica third with nine medals and Bahamas came in fourth.
"It will be the first time, I will be running at the World Youth. It is funny that I started with the World Junior Championships in Barcelona and I won in 3,000m distance," said Mercy Chebwogen, the World junior champions (3000m),"
"But things will not be simple in Donetsk. I was beaten here in Nairobi during the trials and it sent a clear message that I must work hard."
Chebwogen was beaten by little-known Lilian Kasait, who prevailed in the dash for the final straight clocking an impressive time of 9:11.70. [ Chebwogen was second in 9:12.0. But that will be history when the two line-up in Donetsk, as they seek to cement their places in the elementary competition for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Similar fate befell steeplechaser Daisy Jepkemei, gold medallist at the World Junior, who was led to the altar by Roseline Chepngetich, a cross county sensation.
The World Youth Championships is open to track and field events competitors who are 17 or younger. However, the World Junior is eligible to athletes below 19 years.
Kenya named a team of 20, it will be one of the smallest contingent in Donetsk, but it is in the quality of the athletes that the secret lays.
At 16, most teenagers are focussed on identifying their true potential and working on becoming important personalities in life.
However, for Jepkemei, a younger sister to former World Youth record holder Nora Jeruto, her return to Europe is not causing butterflies in he tummy.
She aims to run three seconds faster than her sister who ran the world record of 6:16.41 in Lille, France two year ago and also restore her career and place in the ranking among the youth.
"I know soon I will be signing my contract, a first one when I turn 18, but that will depend on my performances at such competition. That is why I want a new medal in Donetsk over the 2,000m steeplechase distance," said Jepkemei.
"I was not in my best shape during the trials here in Nairobi. School demands and a cold infection I had played part. But that will clear and will be able to focus on the championships in Donetsk fully. I promise Kenyans that when I go to Ukraine I' ll bring back gold."
But that will mean that Jepkemei, for the second time proves that she is a better bet than Roseline Chepng'etich, who won the water and hurdle race. Jepkemei is also the Africa Junior champion.
"I want to go back to training and beat my opponents but what I really want is to break the world record. The challenge of running against some of the world best is what is inspiring me to work extra hard," she said.
The top two athletes in 2000m SC, 800m, 3000 m SC, 1500m (both girls and boys), 200m (boys) and 400m boys all qualified to compete in Ukraine.
Kenya will be represented in all the contested races except the girl' s 400m, 400m Hurdles for both boys and girls and 200m girls where the athletes failed to hit the qualifying marks.
Kenya will also have in Donetsk four sprinters. The country is seeking to widen its medal basket and sprints and field events are areas, the country is keen to venture in.
Kenya picked on Geoffrey Kiprotich and Stanley Kitei, who clocked 21.73 and 21.85 respectively in the 200m.
Ian Mutuku (47.40) and Alex Sampao (47.70) - who is plotting to establish a career path similar to 800m World record-holder David Rudisha - will also be on the plane to Donetsk after clinching the top two places in the 400m.
Sampao comes from Trans Mara, the region that has produced the likes of Rudisha, former double World champion Billy Konchellah, and Olympic medallist William Yiampoy.
Alfred Kipketer who beat the reigning national Secondary school champion, Joshua Masikonde will lead in the boys 800m. Kipketer posted 1:46.2 and he was followed by Patrick Rono (1:46.6) who also booked his ticket to Ukraine.
Vedic Kipkoech and Alexander Mutiso will carry the burden of ensuring that Kenya continues with the tradition of winning the Steeple Chase after both of them qualified.
"I came to the final with a low morale after what had happened," he said.
Following is the Kenya Team:
Boys - Geoffrey Kiprotich, Stanley Keter (200m), Ian Mutuku, Alex Sampao (400m), Alfred Kipketer, Patrick Rono (800m), Robert Kiptoo, Titus Kipruto (1,500m), Kiptanui Bett, Justus Kipkori (2,000m SC), Vedic Kipkoech, Alexander Mutiso (3,000m).
Girls - Agnes Mulei, Jarinta Maiwa (800m), Irene Chepkemoi, Lucia Eunice (1,500m), Roseline Chepngetich, Daisy Jepkemei (2,000m SC), Lilian Kasait, Mercy Chebwogen (3,000m).
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