Letting fancies Kenyan juniors at Kampala WXC
Coach David Letting says experience will be the driving force for the Kampala-bound Team Kenya Under-20 as they set up to hunt for individual and team titles at the forthcoming IAAF World Cross Country Championships next weekend.
The Kenyans lost out on the top individual honours to East African archrivals Ethiopia during the previous edition in Guiyang, China but Letting believes the current team is better equipped to deliver.
The Ethiopians enjoyed great success in Guiyang, the 41st edition of the global championships, as Yasin Haji and Letesenbet Gidey were crowned the junior champions as they capped their triumph over Kenya with a clean sweep in the women’s junior race.
But according to Letting, Kampala will be a different battleground with national champions Richard Kimunyang and Sandrafelis Chebet leading the Kenyan charge.
“The junior team in Guiyang was good but Ethiopia had fielded overage athletes according to my observation. The current team is good because it has more experienced athletes like Chebet and Kimunyang leading the pack. They are all used to running international races so I feel we will have less challenges this time.
“This year’s preparations have been good, we have had good competition amongst the juniors and if they organize themselves well they shall be able to win more medals,” Letting told Citizen Digital.
Kimunyang, the 2015 IAAF World Youth 3,000m hopes to emulate World Cross champion Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor who last won the junior men title six years ago in 2011 when the championships were held in Punta Umbría, Spain.
“Somebody like Landema has represented Kenya before in other races and is more experienced than the rest of us. We have been working on our endurance and speed to ensure that we grab as many medals as possible,” Kimunyang said.
Kimunyang will team up with 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships medalist Amos Kirui (3,000m, steeplechase gold medal), Japan based Wesley Landema (5,000m, bronze medal) and Ronald Kirui Kiprotich who will use his experience from last year’ African Championships where he won a silver medal.
Meshack Kyunguti and Edwin Kiplagat who will be racing for the first time at the international global arena complete the junior men’s team that will be defending their title.
Chebet, the World Youth 2000m silver medalist leads the junior women’s team over the six-kilometer race with the hope she can match former two-time world junior champion Faith Chepng’etich and Agnes Tirop who led a Kenyan 1-2 finish in Poland four years ago.
In Guiyang the girls only managed the team silver medal as their Ethiopian neighbours claimed a crushing 1,2,3 podium sweep and relegating Daisy Jepkemoi, the ony Kenyan in the top six to fourth.
Chebet has a backing of 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships medalist, Celphine Chepteek (3000m s/c, gold) , Sheila Chelangat ( 3000m , silver), Emmaculate Chepkirui ( 5000m silver) Joyline Cherotich (1500m World Youth Championships silver medalist in Cali. ) and Esther Muthoni who will be making her international debut.
Under 20 team.
- Richard Yator
- Meshack Kyuguti
- Wesley Ladema
- Edwin Kiplagat
- Amos Kirui
- Ronald Kirui Kiprotich
- Sandrafelis Chebet
- Cellephine Chepteek
- Sheila Chelangat
- Emmaculate Chepkirui
- Joyline Cherotich
- Esther Muthoni