BY CONSOLATA MAKOKHA

TEAM Kenya for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa from September 5 to 11 are confident of improving on their 2011 performance.

Kenya finished seventh with four gold, four silver and two bronze medals, all in athletics in the game held in Isle of Man, Britain in 2011.

The team of eight athletes comprises six boys—Richard Kimunyan, Davis Kiplang’at (3000m), Kamari Tuki (captain), Lawi Kosgei (1500m), Willy Tarbei and Kipyegon Bett (800m), and two girls—Sheila Chelang’at (3000m), Joyline Cherotich, (1500m).

All the eight are medalists in this year’s IAAF youth championships held in Cali, Colombia in July. The boys won gold in different races while girls clinched bronze in their respective races. The teenagers will be accompanied by coach-cum-team manager Richard Lebo, Edith Kamau (physiotherapist), Anna Jambi (chaperon) and James Chacha (Chef de Mission).

Captain Taki intimated that even though the team was trimmed down from 14 to eight, they are now targeting to finish in top two in all their races.

“It would have been light on us if the initial number (14) was retained but we have understood the situation. However, we are focused and determined to bring gold and silver home. We all have prepared well,” said Taki who termed Ethiopia, Morocco and Australia as their biggest competitors in the Samoa sports extravaganza.

To increase Kenya’s chances of gathering more medals, the girls have agreed to complement each other in both 3000m and 1500m. Chelang’at whose specialty is 3,000m will race in the Cherotich’s 1500m, and vice versa in an effort to increase Kenya’s medal tally.

Ngisirei will not accompany the team owing to lack of funds. The government withdrew from sponsoring a team to the Commonwealth Youth Games to concentrate on Africa Games starting on Friday in Brazzaville, Congo.

“We feel we have denied many youth sports persons a chance to compete. This group of athletes will be retained and prepared for the Rio Olympics next year,” said Kipchoge Keino, the NOC-K chairman. The team jetted out last night for Apia, Samoa.

Courtesy of the-star.co.ke

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