John Paul, Josette Njeri to fly Kenyan flag in Birmingham

Josette Njeri in action during the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Youth African Games triathlon qualifiers at the the Karen Water Front, Nairobi on March 13, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Top-seeds John-Paul Malina and Josette Njeri will lead the four-member Kenyan triathlon squad at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The two, together with Jesse Okal and Megan Irungu grabbed the tickets during the national trials held at the Karen Water Front yesterday.

Josette and Malina made the cut despite finishing third and second in the women and men's elite races respectively.

Jesse, the grandson of legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino, won the men's race in a tight battle ahead of Malina, the top-ranked male athlete in the country.

"I feel good today, first because I've qualified for Commonwealth Games for the first time and secondly, I've finally managed to beat my friend (John Paul) who has beaten me in the last four events that we've competed together," said Jesse.

Joseph Okal (in front) and John Paul Malina in action during the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Youth African Games triathlon qualifiers at the Karen Water Front, Nairobi. March 13, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Josette, who is still recovering from a hip injury she sustained in a bike crash last January, came a distant third though she still made the cut on a wild card.

"I didn't have a great event today, especially in the water because the Sun was in my eyes and I wasn't able to sight properly. I got lost in the course quite a bit," said Josette, the top-ranked female athlete according to World triathlon rankings.

"Bike was great for me. I didn't have a competitor but my run was horrible because of the injury" said Josette.

According to KTF president, Joyceline Nyambura, the federation will now hand over the team to the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K).

"Two athletes (John Paul and Josette) had a wild card so that means that we'll take the top finishers in each category to make a team of four," added Nyambura who was elected the federation's boss last weekend.

This means that Aisha Nassar, who finished second, will not make the team.

Para-triathletes in action during the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Youth African Games triathlon qualifiers at the Karen Water Front, Nairobi. March 13, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya will also send two para triathletes to the Birmingham Games set for between July 28 and August 8.

The federation used the same event to pick the team for the upcoming Youth African Games (YAG) to be staged in Cairo later in the year.

The squad is made up of Trevor Mwanisi and Joshua Okal, younger brother to Jesse.

 

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