He shares the name with one of the most iconic Africans and he determined to ensure he lives up to the reputation… at least on track.

And Kenyan junior runner Nelson Mandela knows just what needs to be done.

As the East African nation works on retaining its title during this year’s World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia,  Athletics Kenya set up various training camps across the country for junior runners to polish their in readiness for the event.

Mandela is one of the 570 athletes at the AIC Iuani Makueni Athletics Camp who are pulling all stops to make it to the Kenyan team when the trials are held in July.

“We have to appreciate what the federation is doing in terms youth development, this will help Kenya retain her status as powerhouse in athletics,” said Mandela.

Athletics Kenya Southern region chairman Paul Mutwii speaking at the AK Talent Discovery and Development programme at the Machakos Athletics Camp on Friday, April 16.

The 5000m specialist  is hopeful he will bring glory to Kenya in August when the biannual event is held in the South American nation.

“I have been to at least two AK weekend meetings where I finished first and fourth recently, getting the opportunity to test myself with elite athletes prepared me better for future assignments,” added Mandela.

Camp head coach Peter Muteti said the junior athletes are excited about being put in camp during the holidays.

“We are focusing on many events – from sprints to middle and long distance disciplines, we also have long  and triple jump for field events,” said Muteti.

The athletes here include Nickson Lesiya (1,500m) and Meshack Baraka (400m hurdles), who represented Kenya at the 2019 Africa Junior Championships in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Elsewhere, AK Southern region chairman Paul Mutwii has challenged junior athletes to surpass the previous entries to the national team.

Speaking at AK Talent Discovery and Development programme at the Machakos athletics camp on Friday afternoon, Mutwii said the region will send more junior athletes  to national trials.

“Last year we had seven athletes to the junior team who were mostly sprinters but given the efforts that have been put, I feel we are in a position to have more athletes spread across different events,” Mutwii said.

The 57 athletes will be taking part in all events from 100m to 5000m except shot put and hammer throwing.

- Advertisement -