Kenya's youth Olympic team finishes distant 11th

11:12, May 15, 2010      

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Kenya secured 11 slots for the Youth Olympics in Sudan during the Eastern Zone Africa Youth Championship in Khartoum, which ended on Thursday.

The team jetted home on Friday morning led by Athletics Kenya vice chairman Paul Mutwii. This puts to rest fears that the country would have missed out on the competition, the first under the International Olympic Committe (IOC) set for Singapore in August.

"We have secured 11 berths for the athletes though some will be doubling up," said Mutwii.

The officials however cried foul over the organizers decision to hold the championship during day time when temperatures in Khartoum have risen beyond the 25 degrees Celsius mark.

"It was really hard for most of the long distance runners. They are not used to such and they are all novices in international competition, therefore subjecting them to such condition was not good," said Mutwii.

Kenya secured seven gold, three silver and two bronzes. "The team now returns to their respective schools and we will regroup in August for the final training before heading to Singapore," said Mutwii.

However, two athletes David Munyao (walk) and Nthenya Musyoki (long jump) who failed to travel because they lacked passports will be considered for other qualification tournament.

According to National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) Stephen Soi, several athletes will be entered in the Africa Youth Games to be held in Rabat, Morocco from July 13-16.

Apart from track and field, which has secured several slots in their discipline' s regional competition, the other 16 federation failed to make it.

Soi, who will serve as the games executive officer in charge of documentation, said wrestling, weightlifting, swimming, boxing, rowing, canoeing, badminton, tennis, table tennis and cycling will have their athletes given at least two wild cards to the games in Singapore.

"However, their prospective athletes must compete in Rabat to make it to Singapore. Therefore we will be carrying a big group to Morocco," said Soi.

The track and field athletes who have secured the ticket include William Mbevi, who won a double in Khartoum, in 110m and 400m hurdles, Matheka Mutuku (2,000m SC), Dinah Mutswenje (100m), Eunice Mueni (200m), Damaris Muthee (1,000m), Koki Manunga (100m hurdles) all winning gold in Khartoum in their respective events. Shakameta Parmutia (triple jump), Josephat Kiprop (3,000m) and Virginia Nyambura (2,000m) secured silver while Wycliffe Chumba and Gladys Chesire (3,000m) got bronze.

Only athletes aged 16 or 17 on the final day of this year (that is born in 1993 or 1994) may compete.

A total of 554 athletes will be selected from the regional competitions across the world with an additional 126 athletes allowed to participate, regardless of performance, in the event of their choice, subject to certain exceptions.

These allocations are to be decided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in consultation with the local NOCs and IAAF.

Kenya had set aside 139 million shillings towards the team preparations and participation in the games, the first of its kind under the IOC banner.

But with most of the money going towards paying of tickets to officials and athletes going for the qualifiers, little has been spent on actual training of the teams.

The inaugural Youth Olympic Games were introduced by International Olympic Committee and will be alternating every four years like the senior Olympic Games and will be restricted to athletes aged from 14 to 18 years.

Compared with other events, the youth Games will have a strong emphasis on education instead of competition.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张心意)

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