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Kenya stars report to camp for final
London 2017 Worlds preparations

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s final preparations for the London 2017 IAAF World Championships are set to begin in earnest from Monday after top athletes started trickling into their residential training camp in Nairobi.

Beijing 2015 Worlds champions, Ezekiel Kemboi (men’s 3000m steeplechase) and David Rudisha (men’s 800m) as well as men’s 10,000m silver medallist, Geoffrey Kamworor are among the handful of athletes who made it to camp by Sunday.

Two-time Olympic champion Rudisha who is bidding for a third world title having won the two-lap crown at the Daegu 2011 edition in South Korea and China two years ago reassured on his form after an underwhelming season by his standards.

“I was worse off last year when I started and it has been so since I injured my knee three seasons ago. But I will beat it and get back to shape to defend my title in London,” said Rudisha who set the 1:40.91 world record in winning the Olympics crown in London.

His teammates in the provisional team, Kenya Trials winner Emmanuel Korir, Diamond League winner, Ferguson Rotich and world junior champion Kipyegon Bett were also in camp.

At the same time, three-time World Cross title winner Kamworor reiterated his desire to dethrone British distance running great Mo Farah in front of his home crowd in the men’s  10,000m re-match.

“We have been so predictable and during the Olympics in Rio, we came close and he even acknowledged the same. Now we need to polish up a few tricks and take it to him head on. We can’t continue playing second fiddle,” said Kamworor.

Beijing bronze winner, Paul Tanui-who trailed Farah across the line for the second medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics-and fourth place finisher Bedan Karoki will partner Kamworor in the 25-lap race.

Athletics Kenya had given athletes selected in the team a Sunday deadline to report to the residential camp but some of the star athletes ran at the London Diamond League meeting over the weekend.

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UPDATES:

China, Kenya teams to watch at the World U-18 championships in Nairobi

NAIROBI  (Xinhua) -- After dominating the Asian Youth Championships, China will be planning how best to extend the reign to Nairobi as the global athletics family descends in Kenya for the IAAF World U18 Championships, which starts on Wednesday.

With top countries United States, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand Britain missing in action, China will be the team to watch alongside hosts Kenya as the juggernaut that is the World Under 18 championships makes its final stop in Nairobi before it is abolished.

In a wide-open contest, Chinese athlete Niu Chunge will turn out as the favourite on paper, but she will face a formidable challeng from the rest of the line-up in the pole vault.

Entering the event with a personal best of 4.15m, Niu Chunge will be up against the likes of German athlete Leni Freyja Wildgrube (4.10m) and Mesure Tutku Yilmaz of Turkey, who has achieved a best height of 4.10m indoors and 4.05m outdoors.

With six of the nine girls in the field have cleared four meters this year, however, there will be no shocks on the podium, and with the event being contested as a straight final, there will be no room for mistakes.

Elsewhere, in the long jump, China will seek to make a mark in an event without a clear-cut favourite. Gong Luying who is leading the field with her 6.35m from the national U18 championships in April, which she followed with a win at the Asian U18 Championships a month earlier will be the athlete to watch.

Lea-Sophie Klik of Germany ranks just behind Gong with her recent 6.31m, which represented a new personal best by 23 centimetres. Next in line is Chantoba Bright of Guyana, who took the South American U20 title this year with 6.30m and is also the reigning Carifta Games U18 champion.

Beyond the top three, it is difficult to identify other top contenders. One possible dark horse is Kristine Blazevica of Latvia, who jumped 6.28m indoors this year, although her outdoor best remains a modest 5.84m.

China, with a team of 51 athletes, if the results at the Asian championships is anything to go by, will be the toughest side in the competition. In May in Bangkok, China won 16 of the 40 titles on offer.

The Chinese team will also be looking out at Feng Lulu, who won the 100m and 200m races in Bangkok as well as Liu Zhekai (javelin).

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New coach of Kenya’s soccer club pledges to recruit local support staff

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The new coach of Kenya’s most successful soccer club, Gor Mahia on Monday pledged to recruit local support staff to help nurture young talent in a sporting genre that is popular in the country.

Dylan Kerr, a British national who arrived in Kenya on Sunday, said he will impart expertise to local staff that will be in a position to emulate him even in his absence.

“It is a common practice for foreign coaches to troop overseas for coaching stints with their own prop-up personnel, but I have opted to employ the services of local people,” the Englishman remarked during the occasion to unveil him officially in Nairobi.

He said the club’s caretaker coach, Zedekiah Otieno, relinquished his role as head coach on Sunday for the assistant position.

Gor Mahia Chairman, Ambrose Rachier welcomed the new tactician to the club and told him he has a free hand to perform his coaching duties without meddling from interested parties.

“Nobody will interfere with your work and we set you free to do your best for the sake of the club,” said Rachier

Gor Mahia, that happen to be Kenya’s most followed team, have won the national league a record 15 times and have also won the African Cup Winners Cup Club Tournament in 1987.

During the 2015 season, the team ended the league with an unbeaten record and in the process also set a new Kenyan Premier League with a total of 78 records.

Kerr replaces the immediate former coach, Brazilian Jose Marcelo Ferreira, aka Ze Maria, who quit the club halfway through the season for a coaching stint in Albania.

The retired defender played for Sheffield Wednesday FC, Leeds United FC, Reading FC and Burnley FC who have played in the top division English Premier League as well as Doncaster Rovers FC among other teams.

Kerr, 50, was born in Malta and has a 13-year experience in coaching starting at Phoenix, Arizona at United States before hired as a Football Development Officer at Scottish side Argyll and Bute in 2005.

In 2009, Kerr was hired as an assistant manager by South African club Mpumalanga Black Aces. He also coached Tanzanian giants Simba SC in 2015-2016 season.

He will take over from former Gor captain Zedekiah Otieno who was in charge of two league games as caretaker after Ze Maria left for Albanian side FK Tirana.

           

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