Southern pick team ahead of Under-20 trials

Southern pick team ahead of Under-20 trials

With just 100 days to the start of the World Under-20 Championships, the selection of Kenya’s team for the global event is entering its homestretch.

Kenya will host the biannual event on August 17-22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

While Kenya is endowed with enormous talent in athletics, only a handful athletes will make the cut in the final team at the trials to be held in two months’ time.

Southern region comprising Machakos, Makueni and Kitui were the first to hold pre-trials to select athletes who will carry the region’s flag at the main trials.

In the event held at Machakos Boys High School on Saturday youngsters from the region battled for top honours.

Makueni-based Leakey Kamina reigned supreme in the boy’s 5000m when he crossed the finish line in 14:19.0 ahead of Nelson Mandela (14:24.3) and Joseph Sila (14:38.3).

Kamina who is eyeing his maiden appearance in Kenyan colours said he is now ready for the battle at the nationals.

“My dream is to win a gold medal for Kenya in 5000m. I am now going to embark on rigorous preparations ahead of the nationals,” said Kamina who also placed second in 3000m flat.

Rose Ndanu of Machakos won the corresponding girl’s race in 18:00.5 as Ruth Kanimi placed second in 18:19.4 while Nympha Kiteta rounded the podium in 18:28.4

Jennifer Mwende chalked victory in 1500m after clocking 4:33.3 with Ann Mwongeli (4:45.15) and Faith Mwende (4:46.9) settling for the second and third slots respectively.

Emmanuel Lemama was in a class of his own as he stormed to a comfortable victory in the boy’s 1500m clocking 3:41.3. Justus Muasya was second in 3:51.3 as David Kituku placed third in 3:59.5

Lemama also extended his dominance to win 800m in 1:50.4 as he signalled his intention to represent Kenya at the global event.

“At the moment I have not decided if I will compete in 800m or 1500m but my target is to make the cut in the national team and reach the podium,” he said.

Southern Region chairman Paul Mutwii said despite the disruptions of Covid-19 on sporting activities, he was satisfied with the results posted by his athletes.

“Personally I am impressed with the athletes especially after being out of competition for a long time. We will now wait for communication from the youth committee to get the exact number of the athletes who will compete at the national trials,” said Mutwii who doubles as AK Vice President in charge of competitions.

On his part, Youth Committee chairman Barnaba Korir who also graced the event said each region will hold their pre-trials that will culminate in the national trials early July.

“We are looking to hold national trials on July 2-3 where we expect to select at least 36 athletes for the World Under-20 Championships. For those who are out of school they will continue training in their camps while those who will return to school next week we will keep monitoring them,” he said.

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