NAIROBI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will send a strong team to the field events during the 2017 World U-18 Athletics Championship to boost the country's medal haul, the team manager said on Thursday.
Barnabas Korir, who is also the Officer in Charge of Youth Development at Athletics Kenya (AK), is leaving nothing to chance to put a sterling performance before home crowds.
"This is the last event of the age bracket, and we want to close it in style by giving the best performance and emerging top overall before our own citizens," Korir told Xinhua during an interview in Nairobi.
Nairobi will host the last edition of the championships between July 12-17 after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council decided to discontinue the youth championships, arguing it was not the best pathway for athletes at that stage of their career.
The IAAF stated it will work with Area Associations to find a more appropriate competition structure for assisting the career development of U-18 age group athletes.
Korir said Kenya has gold medal prospects in the 800m, 1500m, 2,000m steeplechase and 3,000m for both boys and girls for a tally of eight gold medals.
He said coaches were training youth athletes in all field events except the pole vault which is lacking equipment and local expertise.
"We anticipate topping up the haul with some field events, which Kenya has not been good at," Korir remarked.
He said world javelin and Olympic silver medalist, Julius Yego's foray in field events has inspired the youth, adding that many are now taking up the event.
"It took Kipchoge Keino's exploits in the 3,000m steeplechase for Kenya to become a powerhouse in the event, and now Yego has defined javelin in the country like never before and many young athletes are following suit," Korir said.
"When we visited a camp in Kuresoi in western Kenya, we found young athletes using sticks as javelin. We admired their aspirations as much as we sympathized with their situation," he said.