More than 120 Kenyan athletes are in camp preparing to participate in the forthcoming Olympic games to be held in Beijing, China in August.
A section of the Olympic squad are camping and undergoing intensive training at Moi University, Chepkoilel campus (a high altitude area 360 km from Nairobi) and 10 km from Eldoret town, the power house of Kenyan athletics. Other athletes are camping at High Altitude Performance Training Centre (HAPTC), a partner of International Olympic Committee (IOC) situated a few kilometers from Eldoret town. The runners are under the tutelage of two coaches Julius Kirwa (Mr Warm Up) who is athletics Kenya head coach and Joseph Ngure in charge of HAPTC camp
Veteran runners already in camp include Ezekiel Kemboi (3000m steeple chase olympic champion) who is leading the bulk of athletes at Chepkoilel Camp. Others are 3000m steeplechase silver medalist in the last Olympic Brimin Kipruto and Junior champion Augustine Choge. In the group also is the 1500m junior champion Isaac Songok and Asbel Kiprop who has already attained the Olympic qualifying mark in 3000m steeplechase.
Each athlete is struggling to be named to the Olympic team after the national trials to be held early July. Kenya’s perennial rivals Ethiopia in the middle and distant races are yet to name their Olympic squad and many Kenyans are eager to battle out with big names like Kenenise Bekele and Asebu Mesekevu.
Janet Jepkosgei and Pamela Jelimo the reigning 800m world champions are yet to outdo each other in the trial after competing recently in the Berlin golden league. Both interestingly hail from the same village in Nandi district, a few kilometers from Eldoret. It will be interesting to watch the two during the trials keeping in mind that Jelimo set a new record in 11 years of 1minute and 54 seconds in Berlin upsetting the reigning champion Janet.
By Ken Chelimo
EAST AFRICA Correspondent
Photo by: http2007
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