Kudos to picks for Olympics, train for medals

Amos Serem celebrates with Simon Kiprop Koech after winning the 3000m finals during the National Trials for Olympic Games Paris 2024 held at the Nyayo National Stadium on June 15, 2024. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Athletics Kenya (AK) has named its track and field team that will be flying the country’s flag at the Olympics next month.

National volleyball women's team Malkia Strikers now also know who they will be facing in the group stages at the Paris games.

According to the draw released this week, Malkia Strikers will have to fight against powerhouse Brazil, Volleyball Nations League semi-finalists Japan and European giants Poland in Group B.

The volleyballers are now training before they fly to the Philippines for the Challenger Cup that starts on July 6 before the Olympics start in Paris on July 26.

On the other hand, the national men's sevens team Shujaa has been training in preparation for the games too having overcome one hurdle, which is qualifying for the HSBC World Sevens Series after they were relegated last season.

Their female counterparts Lionesses are also hoping to book an Olympic slot as they play in the Olympics Repechage which started in Monaco, France, yesterday. The high-stakes tournament will see the winner secure a spot at the Paris Olympics.

We can confidently say it is all systems go as Team Kenya heads to the Olympics apart from Lionesses who are still seeking to be in the flight to Paris and also some track and field athletes who were named after the trials but are yet to hit the Olympic qualifying standards.

As we congratulate those selected to take part in the Olympics, they should know that the tough part has just started. They must ensure they fly the country’s flag high in Paris. Getting named in the team should not make them sit on their laurels thinking they have done the hard part, even though the Kenyan athletics trials are always one of the hardest in the world.

We therefore urge the athletes to work extra hard in camp. And for those who are seeking qualifying standards, they should give their best to be part of the team in Paris.

We also hope the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has done its part in ensuring the athletes who are going to Paris have met all the anti-doping requirements.

We all know what happened at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where Mark Otieno was unable to compete after he tested positive for a banned substance.

We don’t want a repeat of the Tokyo issue and ADAK should work with the National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOC) and ensure all the athletes in Team Kenya are clean as per the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit.

Otherwise, we wish the selected athletes all the best in training. And for those still chasing Olympic slots, we also pray that they book their tickets.