Preparations to defend the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) Under-20 title has started in earnest for Kenyan junior athletes.
With the Under 20 and Under 18 Championships set for April in Lusaka, Zambia, Athletics Kenya Youth Committee chairman Barnaba Korir said they are working hard to ensure the country defend the U-20 and win the U-18 title — which was won by South Africa four years ago in Ivory Coast.
Speaking during the official training camp closure on Sunday at the Complete Sports training camp in Uasin Gishu County, Korir said: “Two years ago,we started these youth camps and we have since realised how important it is to have them.”
He added that the government has been making important contribution towards these camps and believes they will go a long way in moulding a winning team.
“We have had discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Sports Ababu Namwamba towards supporting young talents — the same way he is doing in football — to give opportunities to young and upcoming athletes,” said Korir.
“We hope that the government will offer more resources to allow us continue with the camps every year for the smooth transition of our athletes from junior to senior ranks.”
Previously, AK had 24 camps but were reduced to just three, Complete Sports in Uasin Gishu, Kapkoimur in Nandi and another in Kericho since there are not too many junior and youth championships this year.
“These athletes will proceed to schools when the schools open. We will then monitor their progress, especially for the sprinters and field event athletes, as we seek to field representatives in every discipline,” he said.
The trials are set for April.
“In the previous championships, we won the U-18 while South Africa won the U-20. Ethiopia had the largest number of entries in Ivory Coast and I am sure that they are preparing well for the Lusaka event and we therefore have to prepare better if we are to win all the titles,” said Korir.