Kenyan XC team out to end juniors’ gold drought

As Team Kenya for World Cross Country Championships intensify training at Kigari Teachers Training College, coaches are working on a plan to finally end Kenya’s gold drought in the junior competitions-8km junior as well as 6km junior women.

Reigning World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor is the last Kenyan male athlete to bag a gold medal in the junior men race, a fete he achieved in 2011 in the competition held in Spain.

Since then Kenya has failed to strike gold with Leonard Barsoton and Geoffrey Korir clinching silvers in 2013 and 2015 competitions respectively, playing second fiddle to Ethiopian athletes on both occasions.

In the last edition of championships held in Kampala, Uganda, Richard Yator claimed bronze in a race won by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo.

Similarly, in the women category, Olympics and World 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon is the last Kenyan to win gold in the 6km race in the 2013 championships held in Bydgoszcz, Poland with Ethiopians athletes reigning supreme in the last two editions.

It is this trend that head coach David Letting wants to bring to an end when the competition goes down in Aarhus, Denmark in March 30.

“When you closely follow the history of athletics when you don’t have juniors then it is most likely you will not have seniors. Therefore, our plan is to recover our medals that we have lost in the recent years and I am certain we will do so,” said Letting.

According to team captain Geoffrey Kamworor, who will be going for his third consecutive senior title, they have been engaging the young lads with a bid to motivate them ahead of the global showpiece.

“I have spent some time with the juniors in training where I have motivated them to return the title back home and I have high hopes with this team since it has high potential,” said Kamworor.

The boys’ squad to the biennial competition consists of; Samuel Chebole, Emmanuel Kiprotich, World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase champion Leonard Bett, Edwin Koskei, Charles Karuri and Cleophas Meyan.

On the other hand, World under-20 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet will lead the girls’ team alongside; Betty Jepkemboi, Jackline Rotich, Mercy Cherop , Lydia Jeruto and Mercy Chepkorir.

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