Mogonga High is the country's spiritual home of sprinters

By Dennis Okeyo: Saturday, December 21st 2019 at 05:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Mercy Oketch during a training session at Gitacho primary school in Kisii on December 19,2019. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

For many years, Mogonga Secondary School in Kisii County has remained the production line for Kenya's top sprinters.

It has always been a star attraction in national secondary school games, boasting top stars in Maureen Thomas and world under-18 400m silver medalist Mary Moraa. 

David Saruni, who was Kenya team captain in the 2017 world under-18 championships, and Youth Olympic Games 800m bronze medalist Francis Pesi Leshoo are among an armada of world-beating stars that studied at the school.

Saruni landed on a track scholarship to the United States of America. Leshoo has also secured a US scholarship and will be leaving for Kansas, USA, next year. 

Athletics Kenya picked Mogonga Secondary School as the pre-trial training base for sprinters ahead of 2020 world under-20 set for Kasarani Stadium on July 7-12.

“I have enjoyed training for the last four years. Since I joined Form One, I represented the school at every national secondary school games,” said Leshoo. 

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Leshoo was inspired to take up athletics by his father, David Pesi, who competed in 400m and 800m. “I am sure that one day I will be like David Rudisha or Wycliff Kinyamal, who have given me support. Athletics enable me get a scholarship to Cloud Community College in USA where I will study Sports Management.” 

Another rising star Mercy Oketch, 17, is eager to emulate Moraa, the world under-18 400m silver medalist.

“I want to be famous and make a living from athletics. Early this year, I finished third in 400m at the national trials for Africa Junior championships at Kasarani Stadium. I have since gained enough experience and I will be able to make the team to the world under-20 championships,” said Oketch. 

Haron Onchonga, the school principal and pioneer of the sprint races at the institution, said he was certain his camp will take a lions to share of the national team to 2020 world under-20 championships.

“There is a huge pool of sprinters and field events athletes in this camp. Many of these youngsters want to be like Mary Moraa and Saruni,” said Onchonga.

Athletics Kenya Youth Committee executive Elizabeth Keitany urged the girls to remain focused.

“I have seen many girls run so well in the junior ranks only to disappear after finishing school. I am encouraging you to continue with running and make it as a career," said Keitany.

 

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