Athletics: AK sets up 14 youth camps for runners

By DENNIS OKEYO: Tuesday, December 17th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Caroline Wanjiku leads single file training at Ihururu Stadium, Nyeri County.

Athletics Kenya has set up 14 athletics camps countrywide to nurture talent ahead of 2020 World under-20 championships, in Nairobi.

For budding athlete Caroline Wanjiku, it has been a case of so near yet so far as she chases a slot in the national team.

Wanjiku, who is in Form Three at Kangodo Secondary School in Nyahururu, has always yearned to don the national colours.

To her, that will be an epic moment in her career in years to come. After failing to bag a slot in the team that represented the country in the Under-18 championships, Wanjiku believes her moment to shine will come when she takes part in the world under-20 championships next year in Nairobi.

“I finished fourth at the 2017 national trials at Nyayo Stadium, but I was only 14-years-old then and had no experience in track. I was really motivated to continue running. Now I’m specialising in 5,000m and I have PB of 16:25," said Wanjiku.

"I know the level of competition ahead is tough especially from places like Iten, Kericho, Kaptagat and Kapsebet but will keep working hard ahead of the trials."

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Wanjiku is one of the 50 junior track and field athletes pitching camp at Ngooru Secondary School in Ihururu, Nyeri County in readiness for the global showpiece set for July 7-12 at Kasarani Stadium.

The camp in Nyeri is one of the 15 centres set up by Athletics Kenya that aim at nurturing young runners before national trials.

The athletes were picked after posting impressive results during trials early last month, where runners from Nyeri, Nyahururu, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Meru, Embu, Kiambu and Kirinyaga competed for the camp slots.

Just like her idol Vivian Cheruiyot, Wanjiru hopes to be a dominant figure in track and cross country running.

Granted, she may lack the finesse of her idol, but Wanjiku has the urge to do just what Vivian has done; to conquer the world.

“I like watching Vivian compete. I think I have watched all her races on YouTube, though I haven’t met her in person, but I hear she is very humble. One day, I will be like her,” Wanjiku, who is coached by Steven Njenga, said.

Barnaba Korir, the Chairman of Youth Development Programme at Athletics Kenya said the federation will maintain the development centres even after the 2020 under-20 championships. 

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