Reignong IAAF world junior 3000m and 3000m steeplechase champions,Mercy Chebwogen and Daisy Jepkorir will lead a strong Kenyan squad of five boys and five girls to Nigeria today for the inaugural edition of the African Youth Championships in Athletics starting this Wednesday in Warri,Delta state. Chebwogen ran a new 9:08.88 personal best to win the IAAF
World Junior crown last year ahead of Ethiopia’s Hiwot Gebrekidan (9:09.27) and Great Britain’s Emelia Gorecka (9:09.43) who both ran personal bests but had to settle for silver and medal respectively.
She will be the favourite to add the African Youth Championships to her collection.Jepkemei,who picked the steeplechase title in Barcelona with a the 9:47.22 World Junior Lead is also expected to emerge champions in Warri with Stella Jepkosgei Rutto,who won a bronze medal in Barcelona expected to be her fiercest rival for the gold medal. Meanwhile,the Team Nigeria contingent for the Championships made up of 59 athletes and 15 officials will arrive Warri today from their training camp in Port Harcourt.
The team will be lead by Ese Brume,the jumper who picked a pair of gold at the trials for the championships two weeks ago in Lagos.Brume won the long jump (6m40) and high jump (1m70) gold at the competition to lay a serious claim to the inaugural gold medals that will be awarded at the championships.As many as 15 countries have arrived for the championships.The Local Organising Committee reveals that Botswana, Namibia, Gabon, Burkina Faso.
Mozambique, Djibouti, Guinea, Uganda, Benin Republic,Zimbabwe, Central Africa Republic, Liberia, Zambia, Mali and Egypt are in town with the remaining of the 35 countries led by Kenya expected to jet in today.Over 430 athletes are expected to compete in the youth event’’
It’s a championship that is expected to throw up talents that may become the stars of tomorrow and we have to thank the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan for hosting such a huge event that will benefit Nigeria tremendously,” Mary Onyali said of the event that kicks off on March 27 and will end on Easter Sunday