The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) first ever National Elite Youth Camp drawing 13 disciplines starts on Wednesday for two weeks at Lukenya Academy, Machakos County.
Nock acting secretary general Francis Mutuku said the camp that is targeting athletes aged between 12-15 and earmarked to take place very school holiday, marks the start of Kenya's road to Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games.
Mutuku said that the camps will only target top and most promising youngsters especially in disciplines that features at the Olympics.
"We get medals from athletics but we want short distances and field events to also bring us medals," said Mutuku adding that their target is to have more disciplines qualify for the 2024 Paris and 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. "Apart from athletics, we want to build strong team events for the Olympics since rugby men and women's teams have proved it can happen."
Mutuku, who was addressing the media at Nock headquarters in Nairobi, said they will seek to have other places outside Nairobi to host the camps but that will depend on the availability of facilities and funds.
"These are youngsters and they would prefer to tour the country since it will open new learnings and ways to make them better," said Mutuku, who was accompanied by Nock Youth Commission member Charles Omondi and Women in Sports Commission chairperson Paurvi Rawal.
More than 100 youth were selected by their respective sports federations in athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, handball, hockey, judo, rugby, tae kwon-do, tennis, triathlon, beach volleyball and wrestling. The federations also seconded coaches in every discipline for the camp.
"The athletes were nominated on the premise that they have the prospects of qualifying for the 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics, and in order to ensure objective and accountable selection, the federations were required to share the criteria for identifying the athletes nationally, including its international qualification criteria," said Mutuku. "Dakar will be as a great platform to kick off their sports professional careers."
The multi-sport camp will include not only technical coaching but also strength, conditioning, nutrition, mentorship and social activities.
The aim is to train the athletes all round and it will also be an opportunity for Nock technical team to sit with the coaches, understand the dynamics of each sport and forge the strategy for retaining these athletes on the pathway to professional sport.