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Olympic: Sprinters and field events athletes among those to start training

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | March 3rd 2021
Machakos Club's Gladys Mumbe leading in 4*400m mixed relay race during AK first relay series at Nyayo National stadium on Saturday, Jan 9, 2020. [Jonah nyango, Standard]

Athletics coach Kirwa says technical team will come up with harmonised training for athletes.

More than 40 athletes – mostly sprinters and field events – have reported to Kasarani Stadium for a bubble camp in preparation for Olympic Games national trials.

Yesterday, Tokyo Olympic Games team manager Barnaba Korir said the athletes turned up in large numbers on the first day.

“We have more than 40 athletes in camp. They are sprinters and field events athletes and train communally. Marathoners will not train in the bubble camp at the moment as they will train on their own,” Korir said.

Julius Kirwa, the Athletics Kenya head coach, said coaches and the technical team will harmonise training programmes for the marathoners.

“To have marathoners train individually is something that looks a bit tricky but not so much. Once AK names coaches to the Olympic Games, that’s when the training programmes can be harmonised,” he said.

Athletics will be the first team to get into the bubble camp that will last two weeks. Volleyball and rugby will be next to join residential camp.

This is due to the strict bubble conditions that have been set by the Tokyo Operations Team of National Olympic Committee.

It has necessitated the reduction of athletes who can check into the first camp to manage the numbers, according to safety protocols and availability of rooms at the Stadion Hotel.

At the camp, each athlete underwent a Covid-19 test on arrival at Kasarani and were allocated single room accommodation at the hotel, as they await Covid test results.

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Once the results are out, the athletes will now be paired into a double room, to make space for another team to check in.

Athletes and officials will need to sign an agreement that they understand the Covid protocols and rules and will abide by them. Non-compliance of the laid down protocols may force an athlete to be taken out of camp.

“Our first priority is to protect the health and safety of our athletes. As much as we need them to start training, it will be of no use to spend so much time and resources to train and then jeopardise an individual’s or team’s chances of participating at the Olympics in Japan,” said Korir.

AK has sent the first contingent of 40 athletes in the following disciplines; 100m men and women, 200m men and women, 400m men and women, 20km walk men and javelin throw.

The athletes were accompanied to camp by their coaches, team manager and technical team.

The athletes who are going into training are the best prospects to make it into the Tokyo team, and who have satisfied AK technical conditions. Each discipline will be required to produce about three athletes who will travel to Tokyo.

Only the marathon team has been named. AK confirmed four ladies and four men who will make up the final team that will represent the country in Sapporo, Japan.

The men’s team has world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, world marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto, 2019 Chicago Marathon winner Lawrence Cherono and Vincent Kipchumba, runner up at last year’s London Marathon. 

The women’s team comprises women’s world marathon mixed race record holder Brigid Kosgei, world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, world 21km women-only record holder Peres Jepchirchir and 2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot.

The Kenya 7s men’s and women’s teams who are back from Spain will also head straight to camp, albeit in a separate location, to manage the numbers required in a camp according to the Covid-19 protocols.

The team managers of the Olympic teams were trained on the Tokyo Playbook two weeks ago.

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