South Rift athletes eye successful 2020 - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 18 December 2019

South Rift athletes eye successful 2020

Kenya's Edinah Jebitok leads the 1500m finals during the Iaaf Athletics Championship at the Moi International Sports centre,Kasarani on July 15, 2017. PHOTO | FILE |
After failing to medal at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, Edinah Jebitok and Zena Chemutai have vowed to deliver victories when the Championships are held in Nairobi next year.
The duo are part of the probable 49 athletes, who are in the Under-20 camp in South Rift, Keringet, Nakuru County, for the world junior event planned for July 7-12 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
South Rift is one of the 14 camps identified by Athletics Kenya to prepare and select athletes for the junior event.
The government has funded the camp that started on November 18 and will close on December 21.
Jebitok and Chemutai finished fourth in the women's 1,500m and 3,000m in Tampere, in races that were won by Almaz Samuel from Ethiopia and Nozomi Tanaka from Japan respectively.
"I am now ripe for the big stage, having tested its deep waters twice- as youth and junior," said Jebitok, who won bronze over the metric mile race, when Kenya hosted the last edition of World Under-18 in 2017.
Jebitok is also the reigning Africa Under-20 1,500m, a feat she achieved in May this year in Cote d'Ivoire.
"I was the only one from Kenya in the race hence no one to work with in Tampere...the stage fright took its tall on me, it being my first International race," said Chemutai, adding that the event came with vital lessons.
"My calculations also fell short when I only focused on the Ethiopians and not the Japanese athlete, who won."
Chemutai won gold in 3,000m at the Africa Under-20 Championships in Cote d'Ivoire.
Other medal hopefuls from South Rift's camp hoping to make Team Kenya are Deborah Chemutai, who won silver in 5,000m at Africa Junior event and Viola Chepkirui (3,000m) and Maureen Cherotich (1,500m).
Some of the men eying positions in the team are Benson Sigei (5,000m), Michael Kibon (400m), Nehemiah Kimutai (5,000m), Dennis Kirui (3,000m) and Steven Masindet (800m).
Camp coordinator David Bii said South Rift will be eying core places in Team Kenya for the World junior event.
South Rift produced one gold, three silver and one bronze medals from Tampere world junior event, where Kenya topped the medal standings with 11 medals; six gold, four silver and one bronze.
Beatrice Chebet, who went on to win the World Cross Country Under-20 title this year, claimed the 5,000m. Ng'eno Kipng'etich( 800m), Leonard Bett (3,000m a¹steeplechase) and Miriam Cherop (1,500m) won silver, while Justus Soget (1,500m) settled for bronze.
"I am confident South Rift will produce more medallists and especially winners," said Bii, adding that South Rift made the full of Team Kenya for the 2015 Cali and 2017 Nairobi World Under-18 and the 2016 Poland and 2018 Finland World Under-20 events.
Charles Ng'eno and Charles Ngau are the coaches at South Rift camp.
Korir assured the juniors at the Keringet Camp of support from the government and Athletics Kenya.
"We are targeting this centre as our centre of excellence. We have plans to renovate the grounds at Keringet," said Korir who advised the juniors to pursue both athletics and education with equal passion.
"Good education will enable you plan and manage our finances and lives much better," said Korir.
Keringet has produced world beaters like 2016 Olympic and 2017 World 1,500m champion Faith Cheng'etich, 2017 World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui and World 800m bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich among others.

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