Eyes on juniors as Mumias hosts Athletics Kenya meeting

Top junior athletes will be setting a new pace, targeting wins in the second leg of Athletics Kenya Track and Field championships set for Mumias Sports Complex on Friday and Saturday.

Fresh from shining at Africa under 18 Judy Kirui, Emmanuel Kiplagat and David Sanayek who dominated the Africa under 18 and under 20 championships are expected to give a new life in the meeting.

Kirui, the 2,000m steeplechase under 18 champion will be seeking to extend her dominance when she takes on experienced athletes in women’s 5,000m.

The Torongo based runner in Baringo County led her compatriot Dorothy Chepkoech who bagged bronze.

Kiplagat on other hand was untouchable in boys’ 3,000m in under 18 as he targets another crown in Mumias competing in 5,000m.

He won the Africa title in 8:14.51 ahead of compatriot Gideon Rono (8:17.83) who settled for a bronze.

Sanayek anchored the 4x400m team to claim the 4x400m title in the under 20 category. The sprinter who lost at the semifinals in 400m was in the 2017 Kenya under 18 team competing in the one lap race.

According to their coach Barnabas Kitilit, the athletes have had a good training and will be travelling with a contingent of 15 athletes all in junior ranks for the competition, which is a build up for the 2019 IAAF world athletics championships in Doha, Qatar in September.

According to Kitilit, first leg 10,000m champion Qauline Kiprop will be competing in her 10,000m favourite. Others include reigning Kass Marathon 10km champion Gilbert Kimunyan.

“We have prepared well for the race. The young boys and girls have given it all and because we have remained with two legs, Mumias and Narok, we have to do our best. This time, the championships will be tight since top athletes will be in action,” said Kitilit.

Returning from the circumcision traditions, 2018 IAAF Muller World Indoor Grand Prix 3,000m champion Justus Soget will be competing in his first race after returning from the ‘bush’ onto the track.

“Soget will be competing for the first time since he was circumcised and we expect good results from him. He has been conistsed and much will be done in Mumias,” he added.

Athletics Kenya Western region chairman Patrick Sang said the championships will be unique because it will attract many athletes.

“We want to stage successful championships because of the large number of athletes who are expected to compete here,” said Kipsang.

Kipsang replaced then suspended chairman Francis Afundi last year.

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