Kenya: Kapsait Camp Moulds Future Stars

28 January 2020

Kapsait Athletics Training Camp in Elgeyo-Marakwet County has been on the news of late, thanks to Brigid Kosgei's awe-inspiring performances in athletics that saw her break the world marathon record on October 13.

Kosgei, who trains and resides in Kapsait, timed 2 hours, 14 minutes and four seconds in Chicago Marathon last year to break Briton Paula Radcliffe's 16-year-old record by a minute and 24 seconds.

World Under-20 5,000 metres champion Edward Zakayo is also a Form Four student at the Kapsait Athletics Secondary School housed in the same compound.

Lately, the camp has been receiving prominent visitors. On Monday, Koji Jitsukawa who is the executive director and head of Africa Region at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Japan presented training kits to the school.

Koji said the university was keen on partnering with upcoming athletes as one way of improving young talent. The Japan-based private university has been supporting Kenyan athletes since 1988.

"As a university, we are proud of our role in nurturing young talent. We want to support them and to promote their education and sports at the same time. We already have two Kenyan students at the university and they have been doing well," Koji said.

SCHOLARSHIPS

"Kapsait has good potential in athletics and that is why we came in with training gears to help them. We will give them more support and also offer scholarships to the athletes who will have attained our university mark," said Koji.

Running vests presented to the athletes on Monday are branded 'C2C' (Courage to Change) which reflects the university's preference for comprehensive support for athletics talent.

The school was identified last year as having the potential to deliver good results, and Koji reckons Kosgei's world marathon record has proven the icing on the cake.

"I was very happy to learn about Kosgei's performance, having visited the school before. She performed well despite having trained in difficult conditions before the race," he said. The university donated running shoes, vests, track, stop watches and other athletics equipment to be used by the students in training.

Erick Kimaiyo, a former Honolulu Marathon champion who is now coach and director at the school, was pleased with the kind gesture. "We are really happy with training kits supplied to us. Buying them has been a challenge because the students also come from a humble backgrounds," said Kimaiyo.

The school's principal, Lawrence Isinta, urged students to continue working hard so as to qualify for scholarships. "Our good performance has put us on the world map and today we have received training kits because of athletics. I ask the students to work hard to get the scholarships from the university," said Isinta. Two students who score a mean grade of C in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education qualify to get the scholarships.

Winny Jepkosgei, a Form Three student at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School who is also hoping to compete in 3,000m at the World Under-20 Championships, said she would work even harder to qualify to represent Kenya at the junior championship.

Form Two student Edward Mberia from Narok County said the kits presented to them would help him train harder and fight for a place in Team Kenya for the junior event, to be held in Nairobi in July.

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