Kirwa wants early preparation for African Games

By Dennis Okeyo: Wednesday, June 26th 2019 at 00:30 GMT +3 | Athletics
Julius Kirwa [Courtesy]

Following a three-day athletics showdown that witnessed tales of comebacks at Athletics Kenya (AK) African Games trials at Kasarani Stadium, head coach Julius Kirwa wants an early preparation for better results.

The provision 61-member squad which was handed over to National Olympics Games Committee (NOC-K) by AK after selection is supposed to report to camp next on July 24 to start their preparation for the forthcoming 12th edition African Games August 19 to 31 Rabat, Morocco.

“The team comprises of experienced and inexperienced runners who are making the national team for the first time. The young ones require more time to prepare and make them understand what’s required of them” said Kirwa who also guided Kenya to the top of the world at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China.

The veteran track tactician added: “That’s why I’m proposing to NOC-K to give us more time to prepare, having done the team selection, the squad should go camp immediately indoor to get desirable results in Morocco”.  

Kenya’s medal collections frantically depend on athletes at the last edition in Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo in 2015 all five gold medals came from the track and field.

Kirwa’s sentiment was supported by 2016 Rio Olympics Games 1000m silver medalist Paul Tanui who finished second at the Kenyan trials and will partner with 2008 Olympics Games 5000m bronze medalist Edwin Soi and Charles Yosei Muneria.

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“Residential camp preparation should start immediately; there is no point of waiting for one month to start preparation after trials,” said Tanui, a constant feature in the national team assignments.

Apart from Soi who made a comeback, the trials also saw a return of 2007 Osaka world championships 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei who failed in her attempt to make the team in the speciality.

Former world youth and youth Olympics steeplechase champion Rosefline Chepngetich who hasn’t competed actively since 2015 also made the team in women’s 3000m steeplechase alongside world steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Mary Wanjiru, a newcomer.

Some of the new faces who made the cut include Lindah Kageha in women’s 400, Irene Kimais, Monica Chirchir, Caroline Nyaga all in women’s 10,000m. Others are Qualyne Kiprop (1500m), Benjini kigen, Joash Kiplagat in men’s steeplechase and Robert Kiprop in 5000m among others.

However, many star athletes opted out of the African Games  as IAAF Diamond League meetings will be on in Birmingham (August 18), Paris (August 24) and Zurich (August 29), as well as preparations for IAAF World Athletics Championships, set for Doha, Qatar, on September 28 to October 6.

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