KORIR: Strong U-20 team sign of good planning - Daily Nation

Strong U-20 team sign of good planning

Thursday June 14 2018

Solomon Lekuta (050) celebrates after crossing the finishing line ahead of Kingetich Ngeno (229) to win the 800m race during the World Under-20 Championship trials at the Kasarani Stadium on June 12, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Solomon Lekuta (050) celebrates after crossing the finishing line ahead of Kingetich Ngeno (229) to win the 800m race during the World Under-20 Championship trials at the Kasarani Stadium on June 12, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BARNABAS KORIR
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The fruits of the 2017 World Under 18 championships were there for everyone to see as the national under-20 trials concluded on Tuesday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

One thing is for sure, Kenya will be represented by a strong team at the World Under-20 Championships in Tempere, Finland from July 10 to 15.

Talk about progress and our heroes and heroines during last year’s World U-18 will be making another leap in as far as their careers are concerned.

I am talking about the likes of Leonard Bett, Mercy Chepkurui, Mary Wambui and George Manangoi, who are among the 27-strong national athletics team to the World U-20 Championships set for Tampere.

Bett, Chepkurui (3,000m steeplechase), Wambui (800m) and Manangoi (1,500m) — all won their respective races during the World U-20 Championships and were also dominant in their specialties at Kasarani.

Others are silver medallists Edward Zakayo (5,000m), Naadokila Mpoke (400m/h), Mary Moraa (400m) and Lydia Jeruto (800m).

Stanley Waithaka, who won bronze in 5,000m alongside Samson Ndigiti (10,000m Walk) and Ednah Jebitok (1,500m) also made the team that will represent the country at the Finnish championships.

World U-20 3,000m champion Celliphine Chepteek also grabbed a rare chance to defend the title she won in Bydgoszcz, Poland two years ago.

However, as Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei said, we need to take our coaching to the next level.

I agree with the AK boss that the selected team has the capacity to better the country’s medal tally from 2016, where they won five gold, two silver and two bronze medals to finish second behind United States who had 11 gold, six silver and four bronze medals.

So, over to you head coach Robert Ngisirei, Kenyans are watching.

Finally, I would like to wish the team the best of luck as they prepare for the Finland show. With the way things are going, this will be the team to represent the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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