Women’s 5,000 metres world champion and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri has been named as Kenya’s Chef de Mission for the first Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Zone V Genocide Memorial Youth Games in Rwanda later this year.
The five-day Games, due to be staged in Huye District from April 2 to 6 and open to athletes aged between 16 and 18, will feature 39 medal events across the sports of athletics, 3x3 basketball, beach volleyball, cycling and taekwondo.
All 11 ANOCA Zone V countries are expected to be represented, comprising Burundi, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and hosts Rwanda.
According to KT Sports, the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC) is also planning to invite France and Senegal, hosts of the 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games, as guests.
Obiri is likely to be leading a large delegation with the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) confirming it is keen to have representatives in as many competitions as possible.
"NOCK is committed to giving opportunities for growth and exposure for top athletes to transition them in administration and management in the country," the body was reported as stating by Xinhua.
Obiri's first major triumph came in 2012 when she won the 3,000m gold medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
She also topped the 4x1,500m podium at the 2014 IAAF World Relays in Nassau in The Bahamas and claimed the 1,500m title at the same year’s African Championships in Marrakesh in Morocco.
Having gone on a maternal break in 2015, Obiri returned the following year to win the 5,000m silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, finishing runner-up to compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot.
She won her first outdoor global crown in 2017 by securing victory in the 5,000m final at the IAAF World Championships in London.
Last year, Obiri won 5,000m gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in Australia and the African Championships in Asaba in Nigeria.
RNOSC President Amb. Munyabagisha Valens told KT Sports last week that Rwanda is ready to host the 2019 ANOCA Zone V Genocide Memorial Youth Games.
"The decision to host these Games was taken during the previous Zone V meeting, where Rwanda was requested to host the maiden Games, and we agreed," he said.
"We have since gone ahead to prepare for these Games, which will be held once every two years.
"We hope that we can use these Games as qualification to Continental Games going forward.
"Preparations are currently underway.
"We expect 350 athletes, aged between 16 and 18 years, to grace the Youth Games."
The event has been organised by ANOCA's Zone V in conjunction with the RNOSC, and the Government of Rwanda in the spirit of Olympism and of the power of sports to reconstruct the country from the genocide ideology.