Jacob Krop from North Rift and Central Rift's Justus Soget lead a stellar field in the Lotto Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships men's Under-20 race scheduled for Saturday at the Ngong Race course.
The duo is among some of the juniors who will be battling for places in Team Kenya for the Africa Cross Country Championships which will be held on April 8 in Lome, Togo.
These juniors will also be using some of these championships to refine for the World Under-20 Championships planned from July 7-12 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Krop represented Kenya at the Doha World Championships last year where he finished sixth in 5,000m while Soget won bronze in 1,500m at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships.
Krop finished fourth at Valencia Ibercaja 10km Road Race in Valencia, Spain on January 12 while Soget wound third in 3,000m at the World Indoor Series leg of Karlsruhe, Germany on January 31.
Soget's Central Rift could be having some of the toughest entries in the event but Athletics Kenya youth and development chairman Barnaba Korir said one can't rule out athletes from North Rift and South Rift.
"Junior events are the most exciting to watch and always produce some of the most interesting results where favourites are not guaranteed top spots," said Korir. "The events are always open and anyone can win."
Soget has a strong back up with Cleophas Kandie, who represented Kenya in men's Under-20 at the World Cross Country Championships last year, Vincent Kiprotich, Collins Chepkemboi, Josphat Kipchirchir and Peres Kipchirchir all in the team.
Krop's team has Bravin Kosgei, Barnard Kipkurui, Shadrack Kiplagat and David Kiboi.
Jackson Kavesa, who won gold in Cross Country/3,000m at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, is expected to put in a show for Southern while Joseph Waweru and Jackson Kasaine will lead Nairobi's assault.
The women's Under-20 battle will equally be competitive with South Rift fielding Africa Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Fancy Cherono and 2018 Youth Olympics 1,500m/Cross Country gold medallist Edinah Jebitok.
Cherono also represented Kenya at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the Doha World Championships while Jebitok won silver in 1,500m at the 2019 Africa Under-20 Championships.
Cherono and Jebitok will face among others Africa Under-20 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Caren Chebet, Mercy Cherop and Diana Kipserem all from North Rift.
Athletics Kenya director of competitions Paul Mutwii said teams will arrive in Nairobi on Thursday before the Anti-Doping seminar that will take place on Friday.
Teams will on Friday afternoon tour the competition route at Ngong Racecourse before the races that will start at 9am on Saturday.