James Magayi @magayijim
Athletics Kenya (AK) spent the whole of yesterday vetting participants of IAAF World U20 trials set for Kasarani Stadium today and tomorrow to curb wanton age cheating.
Cognisant of the vice among Kenyan athletes, AK deployed teachers conversant with the sport and young athletes to help scrutinize over 100 youngsters who turned up with their travel documents as well as birth certificates for verification at Riadha House yesterday.
A number of athletes have previously had questionable ages hence AK’s proactive move to nip the vice and field runners who genuinely fall within the required age bracket. All participants in the trials must not have been born before 1999.
Kenya will select 26 athletes after the two-day trials to represent the country in the IAAF World Under 20 Championships in Tampere, Finland mid July. Top two finishers in every race will book automatic tickets to the Ratina stadium to try and end United States of America’s (USA) three-year grip on the age-group championships.
Kenya is the second most successful nation in the championship that begun in East Germany in 1986. During the last edition staged in Bydgoszcz, Poland Kenya finished second behind USA with five gold medals, two silvers and two bronze.
Celliphine Chepteek Chaspols and Emmaculate Chepkirui were the only women medalists while Amos Kirui, Kumari Taki, Kipyegon Bett and Rodgers Kwemoi grabbed gold medals from the men’s ranks.
Commonwealth Games 5,000m bronze medalist Edward Zakayo predicted a very tough contest in his category. Zakayo won silver behind Ethiopia’s Salemon Barega in last year’s IAAF World Under-18 Championships staged in Nairobi but is not worried of meeting the Ethiopian in Tampere.