Kenyan athletes hope they can post good results at the World Junior Championships starting Tuesday in Poland to inspire their senior compatriots who will compete at the Olympics to do well.
Head coach Robert Ngisirei has said Kenya’s Olympics team and the whole country will be closely following the proceedings in Poland and has predicted that pressure will be on the juniors to produce good results.
Ngisirei however said his charges are ready for the championship in Bydgoszcz after three weeks of residential training in Nairobi.
TARGETING EIGHT GOLD
Ngisirei has projected that the team will bring at least eight gold medals from Poland.
Kenya won 16 medals (four gold, five silver and seven bronze medals) in the last edition of the championship held in 2014 in USA.
“The athletes were tested to the limit during the trials, and most of them reached their peak,” Ngisirei said.
“We are glad they were able to recover on the first week and fully concentrated on training in the last two weeks.”
Ngisirei was quick to caution his charges on the challenge ahead of them.
“We shall face stiff challenge in the middle and long distances races from Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenyans who are running for other countries like Bahrain,” said Ngisirei. “There is also a big threat from Morocco.”
Team captain Moffat Ngare, who will field in 400m, said: “I have trained well in terms of speed and strength and I’m ready to go,” said Ngare, who is also the regional 100m and 200m champion.
Ngare said training alongside experienced athletes like national champion Alphas Kishoyian and African Games 4000m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa has given him much-needed exposure.
“I feel ready for that big stage,” said Ngare.
Kenya expects its first medals from Africa Cross Country junior silver medallist Ronald Kiprotich and 2015 World Cross Country representative Rogers Kwemoi in men’s 10,000m when the championships open on Tuesday.
“Our training has been solid and it’s a great honour to represent Kenya for the second time,” said Kiprotich. “We have no option but to set up the stage for the rest.”
Kwemoi indicated that an injury saw him finish 10th at the 2015 World Cross had healed hence he is ready for a medal bracket show. “Victory on the first day should inspire the rest for sure,” said Kwemoi.
The World, Africa and Commonwealth Youth 1,500m champion Kumari Taki will be eying to graduate to senior ranks is style with victory in Poland, being his last race as a junior.
Targeting a brace is World and Africa Youth 3,000m steeplechase champion VJohnathwwncent Kipyegon.