Kenya: 200 Athletes Set for World U-20 Pre-Trials in Nairobi Region

Close to 200 athletes will battle it out at the Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi Region pre-trials for the World Under-20 Championships at the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday.

Nairobi becomes the fourth AK region to conduct its pre-trials after Southern in Machakos, Central Rift in Kapsabet and South Rift in Kericho.

Fresh from winning the men's 1,500m at Tokyo Olympics pre-trials at the same venue, Vincent Keter from Rongai Athletics Club is among the rich entries.

Keter, the Africa Under-18 1,500m champion, has expressed his desire to represent Kenya both at the Tokyo Summer Games due July 23 to August 8 and the World Under-20 Athletics Championships planned for August 17 to 22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The national trials for the world junior event are due July 1 to 2 at the Nyayo National Stadium.

"I also want to carve a niche for myself and emulate my role model world champion, Timothy Cheruiyot, having paced him for some time," said Keter.

His coach, Ben Ouma reckons that Keter is ripe for the big stage, but his rise will be gradual with no pressure on the youngster.

"I will take him for a race in Sweden on June 13 to try and improve on his personal best of 3:37.95 before the Olympic trials next week," said Ouma, adding that he won't pressurise Keter to try and hit the Olympic qualifying mark.

"But it's my wish to have as many as possible attain the standards." The Olympic qualifying standard in the 1,500m is 3:35.00.

Keter will compete alongside compatriots Vincent Mutai, Simon Kipkoech and Edward Manangói, the younger brother to the reigning world under-20 1,500m champion, George, in the 1,500m race.

Also from Rongai are Victor Cheppkwony (5,000m), Jonathan Kipkoech (3,000m) and Simani Regau and David Mwendwa, who will double up in 200m and 100m.

There will be a strong representation from Lemotit Club in Kericho competing in Nairobi.

"Most of them are upcoming and still in school. It's only a matter of time before they strike big," said coach Paul Kemei, as he took some of the participants through the final touches at Kericho Green Stadium, before heading to Nairobi Tuesday.

They are Sharon Chepkemei (3,000m steeplechase), Joyline Chepkemoi (3,000m), Fancy Chepkorir (5,000m), Daisy Chepkorir, Diana Chepkemoi and Miriam Chemutai in 1,500m.

Others are Dorcas Chepkemoi and Florence Chepkoech in the 800m, while Sharon Cheptoo and Purity Chepkirui will battle in the 400m.

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