Sprint sensation Sasha Zhoya leads a strong French team to the World Under 20 Championships starting on Tuesday.
The team consists of 26 athletes and 10 officials, half the number that competed during last month’s European Junior Championships held in Tallinn, Estonia.
Speaking after the team’s arrival on Friday, Zhoya who was crowned European champion in 110m hurdles, expressed his enthusiasm to post good results.
The 19-year-old said he intends to use the global Junior Championships to officially launch his bid to star in the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in his home city, Paris.
“I was happy to finally win my first international medal last month,” said Zhoya.
“I can’t wait for the World U-20 Championships to begin. As you can see, we have a strong team in almost all the events,” said the athlete who won the European final in a championship record of 13.05, just 0.03 shy of his Personal Best he posted earlier this month.
Zhoya is an all-round talent and has produced incredible marks in the pole vault, 200m and decathlon in recent years. He has, however, fallen in love with 110m hurdles.
“Watch out for French team in Nairobi. We have five gold medalist across different disciplines including hurdles and hugh jump. Since we are hosting the next Olympic Games in three years time, the importance of this Championships cannot be over emphasised,” he added.
Pole vaulter Emma Brentel who was second during the European Championships is eyeing a French record at the global Championships.
With a personal best of 4.20m, the 19-year-old feels ready to compete next week.
“I am expecting stiff competition from not only my team mate but also Canada and Israel. But I will take that positively since my target is to hit 4.40m which is a French record,” said Brentel as the team was checked in at Nairobi’s Sarova Panafric hotel late Friday night.
Other teams that arrived are Argentina (8), Algeria (2), Canada (23), Dominican Republic (3), Czech Republic (48), and Botswana (18).