Kenya selects 24 athletes for Under-20 Worlds

Nairobi: Kenya's athletics officials on Wednesday selected a team of 24 youth runners to represent the country at the World Under-20 Athletics Championships scheduled for July in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The team comprising of 10 girls and 14 boys, will represent the country in 13 track events at the biennial games that were first held in 1986, reports Xinhua. The championships were originally awarded to Kazan, Russia before the hosting rights were withdrawn as a result of the All Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) being suspended by the global athletics body. The Head of Youth Programmes at Athletics Kenya, Barnabas Korir, said most of the selected athletes had won medals during the World Under-18 Championships that were held last year in Cali, Colombia when the runners competed in the lower age bracket where Kenya emerged second overall after the United States. "Today you have not been tested for anti-doping like international regulations would require, but you will be tested at your residential training camp during your training sessions which commence on June 26," Korir said. "Do not use any substance that you are not aware of because it might bring you problems, and as you are aware, Kenya is still not yet off the hook on the doping issue," he cautioned. Korir said Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO) officials were supposed to be present at the event to test the athletes in conformity with IAAF regulations and could not explain their absence. He however promised the young athletes to expect a visit from them during their residential training. Vincent Ruto and Amos Kirui will lead the team in the men' s 3000 metres steeplechase event whereas Celphine Cheptek and Betty Chepkemoi will compete in the women' s event where the Kenyans are expected to win medals in what has become their speciality.