Athletics Kenya (AK) have warned athletes and coaches of severe consequences if they engage in age-cheating during the national pre-trials for the 2021 World Under-20 Championships at the Nyayo National Stadium on Friday.
AK director for youth and development, Barnaba Korir said they have enriched their data base for the athletes sourced from the camps as well as secondary and primary schools.
A total of 502 juniors drawn from 24 under-20 camps across the country have been invited for the two-day time trials as AK targets to select probables who will receive specialised training ahead of the final trials due April next year.
Kenya will stage the rescheduled World Under-20 Championships from August 17 to 22 next year at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. The junior event has been planned from July 7 to 12 this year but later postponed after the outbreak of Covid-19.
“The date will enable us to compare and get the exact ages of the athletes and anybody entering an athlete with doctored ages will be smoked out during the vetting,” warned Korir.
Korir explained that those athletes who are not attached to any camp or school but have been selected for the inter-camps pre-trials will need to present their authentic birth certificates or baptism cards.
“We have qualified officers who will handle the vetting and severe consequences await those who will try to corrupt their way through,” said Korir adding that they have a database for 2,000 junior athletes which will make it easy for them for verification.
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The selected athletes will then be put in specific training camps across the country where they will be assisted to prepare for the global event.
“Unlike before, we shall minimise the camps where the focus will be on the athletes we shall have selected,” said Korir adding that they plan to have a camp for them in December and April next year before the final selection.
Even as schools reopen in January, AK shall assign coaches to where these athletes will be schooling to monitor their progress. “Those who will not be in school will be given programs by their respective coaches or managements,” said Korir adding that they will deliberately focus on sprints and field events where Kenya has potential.
Korir said they have a challenging task ahead to mould a team since a large percentage of those in Under-20 camps that were there this year have surpassed the age limit.
“This event will give us an idea on where we need to focus. The numbers for selection will depend on performance,” said Korir.
Besides it being an invitational only event, Korir said strict Covid-19 protocols will be in place during the preliminary trials. Athletes for the pre-trials have been accommodated in 10 hotels within the city.
Kenya will be represented in 21 out of the 22 on card in both men and women’s competitions. The only event where the country won’t have representation is the pole vault.
Kenya claimed the overall title with 11 medals; six gold, four silver and one bronze at the previous 2018 championships in Tampere, Finland.