Plenty of positives from the Cali tour

Kenya's bronze medallist Edwin Kimosong (left) and Kenya's silver medallist  Felix Korir celebrate at the end of the men's 3000m final in the World Under 20 Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia on August 6, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool |

What you need to know:

  • There are those among them who may not have performed to expectations and we will provide them with counselling to enable them get back to training with the same intensity they had before the Cali assignment.
  • Cali is just the beginning of a bright future for these younger ones and we are determined to make that a reality for all of them.

As an athletics enthusiast, I admit I felt stinging pain in my heart when we relinquished our title at the recent World Under-20 Championship in Cali, Colombia.

My feelings resonate with those of millions of fans around the country who are nursing the wounds after Kenya finished fourth in the medal standings – having topped it in Tampere, Finland and Nairobi.

However, even as we mourn our loss, we ought to look at the positives.

As Kenya under-20 team coach Robert Ngisirei said in his post analysis of the championship, the relative lack of experience cost us in Cali as many of our athletes struggled to handle the pressure associated with competing on a big platform such as the World Under -20.

As Athletics Kenya, our core objective moving forward is to provide as many of these junior athletes with as many opportunities as possible to compete on the international stage to get used to running in front of a vociferous crowd.

We have witnessed a number of junior athletes – who competed at last year’s edition – shine on the Diamond League circuit and eventually attain glory at the World Championship in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

As the track and field season winds up, I know there will be a number of junior athletes hoping to compete in various road races.

We are ready to provide them with the documentation and any other assistance to compete in these races provided the same is sanctioned by World Athletics.

Another positive is the emergence of new stars, such as Reynold Cheruiyot and Faith Cherotich who picked up from where their predecessors left off by clinching gold.

AK will be keenly following up on such heroes — as well as other junior athletes—to ensure their seamless transition to senior ranks.

Granted, many youngsters have grappled with various challenges in their rise up to the senior levels, such as unexpected fame, drug and alcohol abuse, and doping among others.

In the past years, AK has conducted seminars to enlighten these young athletes on the need to remain disciplined and focused on their athletics career – in addition to becoming model citizens of their local communities.

We intend to continue on the same path, mentoring these young ones to fulfil their potential.

There are those among them who may not have performed to expectations and we will provide them with counselling to enable them get back to training with the same intensity they had before the Cali assignment.

Cali is just the beginning of a bright future for these younger ones and we are determined to make that a reality for all of them.

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