NAIROBI, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will overcome late withdrawal of swimming sensation Maria Brunlehner and stage a good performance at the Youth Olympic Games, which start in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday.
National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) President Paul Tergat says the country will weather the stiff challenge in the competition to improve on their past performance in Nanjing, China in 2014 where it won two gold, two silver and one bronze.
"It is sad that Kenya's sole representative in swimming at the Youth Olympics Maria Brunlehner has withdrawn due to illness. We wish her quick recovery," said Tergat on Friday.
"But Kenya has a fighting spirit and we will do well in the other two disciplines," he added. Kenya will only have 19 athletes competing in track and field and boys' hockey.
The Youth Olympics is the elementary event for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for young boys and girls and it aims to instill sense of responsibility and liking of sports to the youth still in school before they choose which career to pursue.
"I'm certain the competition will offer important experience to the young sportsmen, who will soon be carrying the country's flag at senior Olympics starting with Tokyo in 2020," said Tergat.
He singled out athletes like Africa champion Ita Leshan (64.66m) who desires to fit in the shoes of Olympic silver medalist Julius Yego in javelin.
"That desire is being realized and Buenos Aires Youth Olympics will be the second stage in his road to become heir apparent to Yego. It is steadily happening," said Tergat.
Kenya swimming federation President Patrick Muyah regretted the withdrawal of Brunlehner. Muyah confirmed that Brunlehner presented a withdrawal letter to IOC citing illness as the reason behind her withdrawal. Brunlehner struck two gold medals and a silver at the Africa Youth Games in July in Algeria.
She splashed to victory in 58.87 seconds in the 100m freestyle and broke the championship record with new times of 26.14 in 50m freestyle.
Kenya's hopes of clinching medals will be determined by the performance of the athletics and hockey teams that are representing Kenya in these games.