The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Why We Lost 10k

Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman Isaiah Kiplagat has attributed Kenya's defeat in the boys 10,000m at the World Junior athletic Championships to poor coaching. Kiplagat said there is urgent need to improve in the coaching especially in the middle and long distance races if the country is to remain top. "We lost a gold medal in the 10,000m because our two representatives were not running in tandem and we gifted the Ethiopians a gold medal in the event," added the AK boss. Kiplagat made the remarks during a colourful reception hosted in honour of the national junior team at Riadha House on a rival from Barcelona.

Kenya finished second overall in the five-day event with four gold, four silver and five bronze medals, behind USA who topped the chart with nine gold, four silver and seven bronze. Kiplagat observed competition at the junior level has become competitive with the medals spread everywhere. "Who would have thought Botswana would have won a gold medal in the 800m and Qatar gold in the 1,500m. We must go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategies for our juniors," he said.

Kiplagat said the team should be kept together for future international events like the World Athletics Championships next year in Moscow and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. "This athletes are very young and if they stay together and show determination and commitment, they should form the backbone of our team at the next Olympics," he added.

Kiplagat urged the athletes to be wary of agents who may want to exploit them in the future. "I want you to be careful of agents who may want to exploit you with several races. Be very careful with the races you enter if you want to prolong your career," he warned the attentive juniors. Olympic-bound Faith Chepngetich who won gold in the girls'1,500m and Timothy Kitum who picked a silver in the 800m, expressed confidence they can do the country proud in the London Games. Chepngetich said she is relishing the challenge of competing against the seniors at the highest level. "I will rest for a couple of days before I resume training but I am not scared. This a good chance to prove myself," she noted.

The gold medallists, who also included Daisy Jepkemei (3,000 steeplechase) and Mercy Chebgowen (10,000m) were awarded Sh30,000 with silver medallists pocketing Sh15,000. Bronze medallists took home Sh10,000.

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