Kenya eyes overall title in next month’s World Youth Championship

Nairobi, June 13 (IANS) Kenyan athletes will be hoping to bow out of the final edition of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Under-18 Championships by writing history as the last country to win the overall title, when the event is held here from July 12-16.

Speaking on their preparations, local organising committee Chairman Barnaba Korir said Kenya will field athletes in all events except the Pole Vault, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We need to maximise on home advantage and push for the biggest medal haul. We have to be the overall winners especially after the withdrawal of defending champions United States of America,” Korir said on Monday.

Over 1,000 athletes are expected to converge in Nairobi for the event, despite the withdrawal of giants US, who became the sixth country to pull out from the event after New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Switzerland.

At the 2015 World Under-Championships in Cali, Colombia, the US won 11 gold, five silver and five bronze medals to claim the overall title. Kenya settled for second spot with 16 medals — four gold, five silver and seven bronze.

Korir said all arrangements have been finalised and even security has been beefed up and assured the visitors of a successful championship.

Kenya will parade over 400 athletes for the national trials for the IAAF World U-18 Championships on Tuesday and Wednesday here.

The trials will bring together 80 athletes each selected from the Primary and Secondary Schools National Sports Association Games as well as 282 athletes who were chosen from the Regional Trials held in May in Eldoret.

The first two athletes to cross the finish line will make the Kenya team. However, Kenya will not have athletes competing in the Pole Vault.

The last time Kenya emerged overall winners was at the sixth edition in 2009 held in Bixen, Italy where they collected a total of six gold, seven silver and one bronze medals.

–IANS

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