Edna Jebitok hungry as before for World Under-20 title
Published on: June 19, 2020 12:00 (EAT)
Gilbert Kiprotich in Nakuru World Under-20 1500m champion Edna Jebitok is not letting go of her dream to clinch her maiden gold medal in the world junior event. Jebitok is one of the athletes at Keringet Camp in Nakuru County who were eyeing slots in the national team for the event that was slated for July 7-12 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani before it was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. The 18-year-old is among the 40 junior athletes from the camp who had been placed under the Athletics Kenya (AK) training programme to prepare them for the national trials that was scheduled to be held this month ahead of the global event. With World Athletics yet to announce new dates for the Championships, athletes in the camp are still soldiering on with their training. “We were training very hard in preparation for the competition (World Under-20) but we are not losing hope. We will keep on training in order to remain fit and ready for the championships once the new dates are released,” said Jebitok. According to head coach Charles Ngeno, the virus won’t slow down their ambition to produce at least 10 athletes in the national team. He however disclosed that the new normal brought about by the spread of the virus had greatly hampered his training programme. “Things have become very difficult for us especially when it comes to training. Unlike before we (coaches) cannot have a physical touch with our athletes since we only send them training programmes without following up on them. It is a big challenge which can affect the performance of the athletes once active competition resumes,” observed Ngeno. Earlier this year athletes from the camp dominated the National Cross-Country Championships that also doubled as trials for Africa Cross Country Championships. A total of six athletes from the camp made the cut for the continental showpiece that was scheduled for April 8 in Lome, Togo but was later postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. Maurine Chepkorir and Deborah Chemutai joined Jebitok in the girls 6km race while Benson Sigei, Bernard Langat and Daniel Kosit had earned slots in the corresponding boy’s race. Jebitok, a form one student at Tulwet Secondary School alluded to the fact that the current training regime has come with its fair share of challenges. “Right now things are very different since we no longer train together as a group. I just train alone to make sure that I remain fit although without having your coach around is not easy at all,” said Jebitok. Despite the challenges, athletes had something to smile about as the government through AK availed some foodstuffs and cash stipend to cushion them on the adverse effects of the pandemic. Keringet Camp is among the 19 camps that was placed under the holiday training programme that began last year December. The delegation was led by AK Youth and Development chairman Barnaba Korir who disclosed that more than 800 athletes have benefited from the stimulus programme where each of the select athletes received foodstuffs worth Sh3,000 and an equal amount of cash stipend. “We have visited majority of the camps and we have reached more than 800 athletes. We only remain with Embu, Nairobi and a few athletes from the coast region whom we intend to visit by next week,” he said.