Athletics Kenya has shifted focus to preparing a team for the World Under-20 Championships due next year following the conclusion of World Under-18 event on Sunday at Kasarani Stadium.
AK youth committee chairman, Barnaba Korir, on Wednesday said although Kenya failed to top the medal standings, the team performed well, winning more medals than any other country.
Kenya wrapped up the last edition of the youth event with 15 medals, finishing fourth, their lowest placing in the history of the event that started in 1999 in Poland where the country came top.
The country lost two titles – boys’ 800m and 3,000m races – collecting four gold, seven silver and four bronze medals for a total tally of 15, their highest ever, but not in terms of quality.
South Africa topped the medal standing with 11 medals of five gold, three silver and three bronze followed by China (5-2-4) and Cuba 5-2-1. Korir said many lessons were learnt from hosting the world youth competition key among them the need for early preparation and diversifying to sprints and field events where Kenya has great potential.
Korir said that proper structures will be put in place to ensure that Kenya presents a strong team for the world junior event due July next year in Finland.
“There are no short cuts in athletics and miracles just don’t happen,” Korir said yesterday, adding that a good performance is important if Kenya is to get the nod to host the 2020 World Under-20 Championships.
“We must learn from the world youth event and invest in equipment and train coaches who will impart the right skills to upcoming athletes.”
Korir pointed out Kenya’s performance at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing where Nicholas Bett (400m hurdles) and Julius Yego (Javelin) made history, becoming the first Kenya athletes to win major titles in prints and field events respectively.
He said there is need to train coaches in technical events if Kenya is to perform well, adding that a programme rolled out by AK and the government to enable young Kenyan athletes get specialised training early this year ahead of the youth championships ought to be upheld.
Success of World U-18 Championship shows we’re ready to host major events, Sports CS says.