Kenya launches Road to Paris Olympics as legends honoured

CS Sports Ababu Namwamba and President National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) Paul Tergat congratulating Kipchoge Keino accompanied by France ambassador to Kenya Arnaud Suquet (left) and various legends during the launch of Kenya's 365 Days To Paris 2024 Olympics at The National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya launched its Road to Paris 2024 Olympics at a colourful ceremony held at the National Museums in Nairobi on Thursday evening.

One of the athletes eager to make a mark at the forthcoming Summer Games is former world javelin champion Julius Yego.

The YouTube man says he is out to make history as the first Kenyan field athlete to make it to the Olympics four times.

He is also on a mission to reclaim his world title back at the Budapest championships in Hungary next month.

"I'm already in camp at Kasarani Stadium, my focus is to win back the world title and by doing so I'll earn automatic qualification to the Olympics next year.

"Qualifying for the Olympics will give me an edge as the only field athlete in Kenya to make it to the global event four times," Yego told said.

Yego thanked the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) for extending him a scholarship ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Ahead of the two epic championships, Yego says he has worked on his fitness and now feels he is a medal material.

"I have trained well, I feel good, I feel ready, I feel I'm up to the task now. I feel I'm ready to give my best to win back the world title and qualify for the Olympics, the target will be to reach the finals in both events," he said.

Paris 2024 Olympics will be significant to the country in that Kenya will also be celebrating 60 years since her first participation in the Games and lifting of a first ever medal, bronze, won by the late Kiprugut Arap Chumo.

Since then, Kenya has amassed 113 medals making it the most successful African nation at the Olympics.

At the same time, Kenyan legends were honoured during the countdown launch in Nairobi on Thursday.

Some of the legends honoured included Nancy Jebet Lagat, Janeth Jepksogei, Wilfred Bungei, Billy Odhiambo, Kipchoge Keino, Catherine Ndereba, Humphrey Kayange, Douglas Wakiihuri, Ismail Bilali, Paul Tergat among others.

During the occasion, Kenya's best ever Olympics moments were replayed showing how Keino, David Rudisha, Eliud Kipchoge (all athletics) and Robert Wangila (boxing) won medals at the Olympics.

Other moments involved Kenya Shujaa (rugby) and Jason Dunford ( swimming).

At the same time, a call was made to save steeplechase which used to be a Kenyan tradition at the Olympics.

"We have a capacity to recreate the 1-2-3 podium finish in this race. We expect three Kenyans to be in the finals in Paris so we need to prepare our athletes well. Proper investment is needed in the team now," NOC-K Secretary General Francis Mutuku said.

On his part, Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei called on athletes to run clean both in Budapest and in Paris.

By AFP 14 hrs ago
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