• Kenya Youth team ready for Lille Challenge

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Jun 30, 2011-

Kenya juniors leaves on Sunday for Lille, France ready to match or even better their performance from the last edition of the World Youth Athletics Championships where they swept the boards to finish top of the medal standings.

The team which has been training at Nyayo national stadium for the last three weeks will shift their training base to Ngong Hills on Friday before departing on Sunday.

According to the overall team coach, Kariuki Gekonyo is expected an improved performance in the sprints in the championships scheduled to begin on July 6-10

“The sprinters I have in camp have come of age and the country should expect at least a gold in one of the races. We decided to focus on sprint to give confidence and equal opportunity to those athletes who are taking part in those races, they are good and some are capable of winning gold in France.”

He singled out Eunice Mweni (200m) as a potential gold medal winner.
The team captain Leonard Konsencha who placed second behind Ibrahim Kipchirchir in the 800m during the trials early this month said he has overcome the thigh injury he sustained earlier in the year and is now focused on winning the Gold medal in France.

“I always think of Kipchirchirit and other Kenyan athletes are the biggest threat, Ethiopian maybe in other races but not 800. It’s good that the injury is fading off every day I am looking forward to winning that gold,” Konsencha said. “We’ve had good preparation and the coaches are wonderful, the only thing remaining is for us to give back by producing good result at the championship.”

The Kenyan team will be looking to improve or match their performance from the 2009 event held in Italy where the country topped the medal standings with Six Gold, Seven Silver and a bronze medals.

Some of the team of 22 include Eastern Africa Youth 1500m silver medalist Sheila Chepngetich who will team up with the reigning World Cross Country Champion Faith Chepngetich. Others are Peter Rono and Festus Kipruto in the 3000m, Africa Youth champion Maureen Cherono and African Bronze medalist Eunice Mueni who will be lining up in the 200m.

Some of the athletes in the Youth team will also represent the country in the Commonwealth Youth Games to be held in the United Kingdom in August.

Over 1,385 youth athletes, 760 boys and 625 girls, representing 175 countries have confirmed their participation to compete in the Championships, making Lille 2011 the most popular World Youths ever.

Elvince Joshua

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