Refugee team to compete in Kenya trials, eye World Cross Country

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-16 22:54:16|Editor: yan
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NAIROBI, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's refugee athletics team is hopeful to make their debut show at the World Cross Country Championships in Arhus, Denmark on March 30.

Speaking in Nairobi on Saturday, refugee team captain Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu said he is looking forward to making his debut show on the global scene.

Lokinyomo, initially from war-torn South Sudan, has been in Kenya for over a decade and trains in Ngong area near Nairobi.

A week ago he competed at the Kisii cross country meeting, which is part of the national cross country circuit, and finished eighth in the men's senior race.

"I want to be the first refugee to get a medal," the 20-year-old said. "That's more important than anything else."

Next week he will lead a team of seven to the Kenya National Cross Country Championships in Eldoret. He will team up with other members of the refugee team, namely Paulo Amotun, Simon Ayon, Pur Biel, Dominic Lokolong, Ubaa Dinta and Ukuk Uthoo.

Lokinyomo is arguably one of the most notable performances since the refugee team project, spearheaded by the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation and the Tegla Loroupe Training Camp for Athlete Refugees in Ngong, Kenya, made its international debut in 2016. For his part, Lokinyomo was pleased, but also seemingly unfazed.

The team of seven runners was expected to compete in Uganda back in 2017, but delay in paper work and travel documents denied them the chance as Africa hosted the World Cross Country for the fourth time in Kampala.

Other cities that have hosted the event in the continent include Mombasa, Johannesburg and Marrakech.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe expressed his disappointment then, but looked forward to them going to Denmark this year.

"We were hoping to have the refugee team in Kampala but because of document difficulties it hasn't been proved possible. We will be trying the possible we can to have that refugee team represented at the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark," Coe said.