Kimunyang eyes 2nd global title at Kampala World Cross

Athletes race during the National Cross Country Championship at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya on ...
Athletes race during the National Cross Country Championship at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya on February 18, 2017. Photo/Sportpicha

The 2015 IAAF World Youth 3000m champion Richard Kimunyang heads to Kampala next week aiming for a second global title in two years before graduating to the senior ranks where he hopes to speacialise in the 5000m race.

The 19-year-old national champion will be featuring in his first World Cross Country on March 26 at the Ugandan capital with hopes of clinching the much coveted junior 8km world title.

Kimunyang backed the Kenyan Junior team to retain the team title they won in the previous edition in Guiyang, China tipping the 2016 World U20 steeplechase champion Amos Kirui and 5000m bronze medallist, Wesley Ledama to deliver in Kampala.

“Ledama has represented the country more than the rest of us so we’ll be counting on him. We have been working on our endurance and speed to ensure that we grab as many medals as possible,” Kimunyang told Citizen Digital.

After the world cross, Kimunyang will shift his focus to the track where he is targetting a place in the national team for the 4-13 IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

Kimunyang started running in primary school after being encouraged by a teacher who later introduced him to his current Coach Barnaba Kitilit.

Kitilit took Kimunyang to his camp where he started nurturing his talent. His potential has attracted attention from former 1500m Olympics Champion and three-time World Champion Asbel Kiprop and World Cross and two-time World Half Marathon champion; Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor.

“It’s very motivating that people like Asbel and Kamworor believe in me. My coaches have also said the same and I having been working hard so that I do not disappoint them,” he underscored.

Kitilit praised the youngster’s confidence, saying the world is yet to see the best of him.

“He told me while in training that he is ready to go for the junior men gold medal.  He had not focused much on winning the national title but ran a very tactical race that saw him take the title comfortably.

“I believe in him when he says that he is going for a specific target, because he is disciplined and confident,” Kitilit noted.

Kitilit added that it would be motivating for Kimunyan if he won the world title as he prepares him for a smooth transition to the senior level.

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