AK upbeat to fashion strong squad despite lukewarm shows
Elite athletes and upstarts are now locked up in intensive training ahead of National Athletics Championships set for June 8-9.
Despite the slow times returned during the uniformed forces national athletics championships – National Police Service, Kenya Prisons and the Kenya Defence – that concluded at Nyayo Stadium on Thursday, Athletics Kenya insists there is nothing to worry about.
Paul Mutwii, the AK Vice President in charge of technical and competitions, said they will have a meeting of coaches to assess the performances.
“I did not notice this really but we will sit down with our coaches and evaluate our progress ahead of the world championships. We must encourage athletes to prepare well,” said Mutwii.
Sprinters performed well in the police, prisons and Kenya Defence Force (KDF) competitions, which coach Bernard Ouma attributed to training ahead of the IAAF World Relay Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, last month.
But save for KDF, the IAAF Diamond League meetings threw police and prisons contests into a tailspin.
On Thursday, top guns among them two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha, four-time world 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, two-time world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor, 2013 world 800m champion Eunice Sum and others missed the police meet.
World 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, who has since moved to marathon after her 20 years on the track, took vantage position at the stadium to enjoy the action.
“It’s great watching. For a long time, except for the cross country this year, I have always been competing,” said Cheruiyot, an Inspector of Police attached to Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
KDF have witnessed a decline in performance for which they attributed to peace keeping missions the athletes have to attend.
But KDF seem determined to win team spots to the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships in London on August 4-12.
KDF’s good performace
Olympic 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri would marshal the soldiers onslaught at the national trials. KDF has no doubt raised the bar in Kenyan athletics.
The late Some Muge was Kenya’s first cross country medalist when he won bronze at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 1983.
KDF has produced all, save for Japhet Korir, who emerged the sixth Kenyan world cross-country 12km champion in 2013 in Bydgoszcz, Poland and reigning champion Geoffrey Kamworor.
The others five-times winners John Ngugi and Paul Tergat; two-time winner William Sigei; Joseph Ebuya and the late Some Muge.
At the nationals, prisons women will be out to reclaim their lost glory on track thanks to new recruit in Africa 10,000m champion Alice Aprot.