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Athletics Kenya reiterates commitment to nurture sprinters

 Kenya's Damaris Mutunga on her way to winning silver medal in 400m race at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia. [Athletics Kenya]

Athletics Kenya (AK) has reiterated its commitment to nurture more sprinters and follow the path of 100m Commonwealth Games and African champion Ferdinand Omanyala.

From the team's performance at the recently concluded Club Games in Birmingham, UK and the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali, Colombia, AK Youth development committee chair Barnaba Korir feels the country has great future in sprints.

In Birmingham, Omanyala won the 100m race in 10.02s with Kenya also claiming bronze medal in 4x400m relay while Damaris Mutunga clinched a rare silver medal in 400m race in Cali.

While Kenya finished third in overall ranking in athletics at the Commonwealth Games after garnering 20 medals, behind leaders Australia (24) and hosts England (34), the junior team relinquished their title to USA as they finished third in Cali with ten medals.

But even as the country shift focus to 2024 Paris Olympics, Korir, who doubles up as Nairobi Region chairman and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) executive member, says plans are underway for the federation to send another batch of athletes to Miramas, France for speciliased training.

In April, a team of eleven sprinters and field event athletes travelled to France for a month-long training at Miramas Athletics Club."We shift our focus to the 2024 Paris Olympics. During the school holidays, we will send the athletes to go back to Miramas, France for the second time. We are also reaching out to the US to accommodate the athletes for specialised training," Korir told Standard Sports.

"We will now pay more attention to sprints and field events because they have shown that they are capable of doing more. We had Winnie Chepngetich compete in triple/ long jump and Damaris Mutunga winning a silver medal in the 400m race which was unexpected.

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