Kenya will send a complete contingent of 25 athletes their nine handlers to World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada after three officials who had earlier been denied entry visas for the event were issued with the same by the country's embassy in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Preparations for Nairobi 2010 Africa Athletics Championships had taken a backseat on Tuesday as the event's chief executive who is also Athletics Kenya (AK) general secretary, David Okeyo, spent the day in attempts to reverse the decision that had it stood, would have shed Kenya in bad light and affected performance of the team that is going to Canada to defend four titles as well as add some more.
The team's manager, Barnaba Kitilit, confirmed the Canadian Embassy had finally granted his assistant, Moses Kimathi Marete, AK delegate, James Rapenda and chaperone, Zipporah Jesang Kurgat visas on Wednesday.
"We are happy and now can look forward to going to Canada and stage a winning performance," Kitilit said. The team of 25 runners and nine officials departs on Thursday night for the July 19 to 25 event.
"Our chief aim is to give a showing that will give our senior counterparts preparing for Nairobi 2010 morale to go out there and win.
Some of the runners in this team deserved to be in the Nairobi 2010 squad but being a world event, we decided to urge them to compete in Canada for their nation," the team's head coach, Kariuki Gikonyo, said.
Among the prodigous talent in the team with potential to star in Nairobi 2010 include defending women 3,000m champion, Mercy Cherono, who also possesses the World Cross junior and Africa Junior (3,000m) titles. Another is 1,500m men athlete, Caleb Mwangangi who soared to the World Cross junior 8km title in Poland this March.
"My aim is to go there and through the help of God, bring back the gold medal as I did in Poland and in Italy (World Youth) last year.
"I would have wished to compete at the senior Africa championships because I feel I had what it took to qualify but on the advise of my coaches, I decided to go for this event," the Japan based runner said.
On Monday, it emerged the Canadian Embassy had declined visa applications for the three Kenyan officials, setting off a motion of activity that involved the Sports and Foreign Affairs ministries as well as the Government's Protocal Office.
"This refers to your application for a temporary resident visa to Canada. I have completed my assessment of your application and I have determined that you do not meet the requirements for a temporary resident visa therefore, your application is refused," the letters addressed to the affected trio and signed by a Canadian immigration official read in part.