World junior 3,000m champion Mercy Chebwogen and Africa Youth 800m champion Robert Biwott will light up Nyayo National Stadium today and tomorrow.
Athletics Kenya will use the two-day showpiece to pick a team to the 12th Africa Junior Athletics Championships that runs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between March 3 and 8.
Maureen Thomas (200m) and Ian Mutuku (400m) will lead a legion of stars that flew the national flag at the inaugural All Africa Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana, in May last year.
Thomas, a student at Nyota Secondary School in Kisii County and who is ranked fourth in 200m youth category globally, will be the star attraction.
The biennial showpiece, which is restricted to boys and girls aged between 18 and 19, promises a cocktail of hope notwithstanding the usual age controversies associated with it.
“Each athlete must bring either a national identity card or birth certificate to justify their ages. But the youth athletes, aged between 15 and 17 years, will be allowed to compete in the event that starts at 8am,” said Jackson Tuwei, the AK Vice President in charge of youth affairs.
Chebwogen, who finished outside medal bracket at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine in 2013, is keen to make amends in the track before graduating to seniors.
She will square it out with world junior 3,000m silver medallist Daisy Chepkemei, the Form Three Student at Mokwo Girls Secondary School in Keiyo South.
Chepkemei, who won gold medal in 2,000m steeplechase at the inaugural Africa Youth Championships in Warri, Nigeria, in 2013, needs to be at her best at the Nyayo National Stadium today.
She will take on Africa Youth silver medallist Stella Ruto and cross-country runner Jackline Chebwogen.
Africa Youth 1,500m silver medallist Eva Cherono and Ivy Chepkemoi, sixth at the IAAF World Youth in Ukraine, will light up the metric mile race as Sandra Chebet, who performed well in the AK cross country meetings, lead the 5,000m onslaught.
Margaret Nyairera, the surprise winner of IAAF World Junior Championships 800m title, will fight it out with Agnes Mulee.
Robert Biwott will take on strong boys’ 800m line up that has Africa Youth silver medallist Patrick Kiprotich and new talent Evans Kibet of the athletics-rich Kiptere School in Kericho.
Patrick Rono, the Africa Youth 800m bronze medallist and Antony Kiptoo will be up against world junior silver medallist Joshua Masikonde in the two-lap race while Gilbert Kwemoi headlines the 1,500m line up.
Edwin Melly, the continental youth 2,000m steeplechase winner, will meet Amos Kirui, who was in the All Africa Games Youth team last year.
Meshak Letim, the Africa Youth 3,000m bronze medallist, will need to be at his best to counter Festus Kiprono.
Kiprono, who is a student at Kimuron Secondary School in Keiyo North where world 800m record holder David Rudisha studied, longs to emulate Rudisha the 2010 IAAF World Athlete of the Year.
By JONATHAN KOMEN, The Standard
Courtesy of in2eastafrica.net