FROM LEFT: Kenya’s medalists at the Najing Youth Olympics Roseline Chepngetich, Moses Koech, Winfred Mbithe, Sports Secretary Japter Rugut, Amos Kirui, Gilbert Kwemoi and Team Kenya Chief de Mission James Chacha upon the team’s arrival from Nanjing, China, on Satrday. [PHOTO:JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Team Kenya returned home from the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China,to a warm reception on Saturday night.

Government officials led by Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts Secretary Japhter Rugut, were among those who received the team at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.

Kenya finished the Games in position 31 overall, with five medals (two gold, two silver and one bronze) in the Games that attracted 80 countries. Hosts China topped the medal standings.

“This is the team for 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. We are going to assist them where necessary to make the qualifications,” Rugut told FeverPitch.

Kenya won gold through Roseline Chepng’etich in girls 200m steeplechase and Gilbert Kwemoi in boys’ 1500m. Silver winners were Amos Kirui in boys’ 200m steeplechase and Winfred Mbithe in girls 1500m. Moses Koech won bronze in boys’ 3000m.

Kwemoi, the reigning Africa Youth champion said: “When I won the continental title in Botswana in May I thought I was going to meet stiff opposition in China, but this was not the case. I won so easily. I think I trained really hard, which made my win easy,” the Form Three student at Kapketiny High School told FeverPitch at JKIA on Saturday.

“I am also targeting world junior cross country, Commonwealth Youth Games and the All Africa Games next year. Right now my body is in shape and I feel confident I can win any youth championship,” added Kwemoi.

Just like Kwemoi, Chepngetich, the Form One student at Keringet High School, is also targeting next year’s championships.

“Despite the excessive heat in China, I won. Right now, I am going to relax for two weeks then start preparing for the world junior cross country next year,” noted Chepng’etich, who is also the world junior silver medalist.

Kirui and his coach Charles Ngau will be back in training soon as they shift focus on Rio qualification. “Winning silver in Nanjing is a clear indication that I have potential for gold in Brazil. I am going to step up my training to ensure I get Brazil qualification in men’s 3000m steeplechase,” said Kirui, a Form Four student at Chebara High School.

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