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Sprinters line up for Athletics Kenya relay series

Last updated 1 month ago | By Dennis Okeyo and Xinhua

Team Kenya sprinter Mark Otieno pose for a picture upon arrival at JKIA from the 12th edition of All African Games held in Rabat, Morocco September 4th, 2019. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Over the years, the country’s sprinters lacked intense competition resulting in low standards. The weekend relay competitions will see athletes earn experience and fitness ahead of the World Relays Championships and the Olympic Games later this year.

Kenya’s fastest sprinter Mark Otieno hopes to improve on his first leg performance as he eyes national team spot in March. 

Otieno, who made his breakthrough in 2017 when he clocked a national record of 10.14 seconds to book a slot at the 2017 World Championships, is optimistic of making it to the World Relays and Tokyo Games.  “Since making my international debut, I have gained a lot of experience, and the ongoing weekend meetings will enable me get into full fitness ahead of World Relays and possible stab at the Olympics Games,” Otieno told Xinhua Wednesday.

In the first leg, athletes competed in 150m, 300m, 500m, 100m hurdles, 1,000m, 1,600m, 4x 200m relay, 4x400m mixed relay in the first leg. This Saturday will see runners participates in 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x400m mixed relays, 2x2x400m, shuttle relays - 100m hurdles for both men and women.

Participants in the 4X400m mix relay exchange baton during the inaugural Kip Keino Classic World Athletics Continental Tour at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on October 04, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Stafford, Standard]

“The athletes wishing to represent Kenya at World Relays must participate in the ongoing weekend relays meet that’s the only way they will get a chance to compete at the national trials which will be an invite-only,” the Athletics Kenya senior vice president and director of competition Paul Mutwii told Xinhua on Wednesday. 

Gilbert Osure, a Kenya Defence Forces sprinter, who dominated the first leg of the weekend, topping the men’s 300m in a time of 34:03 seconds hopes to take full advantage of the weekend meetings to ensure he qualifies for the World Relays. 

The World Athletics Relays will head to Europe for the first time this year after the Bahamas hosted the first three editions followed by Yokohama in 2019. []

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