Were out to prove his dominance at Kip Keino Classic

Wiseman Were training at Moi International stadium ahead of the 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Aug 14, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Africa men's 400m hurdles bronze medalist Wiseman Were is again hoping for a good season in the fifth edition of Absa Kip Keino Classic, a World Continental Tour Gold meet slated for Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday.

The Commonwealth Games 4x400m relay bronze medalist hopes to go for a third successive victory in the category where he has plenty of perennial rivals including the 2020 champion William Mbevi who he relegated to silver two years ago.

Other worthy opponents in the race expected to give him a run for his money are Kipkorir Rotich (2023 silver medalist) and 2021 champion Nicholas Kiprotich.

Were is hopeful of glory ahead of the championship with an Absa Bank Kenya support.

The title sponsors are expected to unveil other athletes they will be boosting in this year's edition of the championship.

"I have trained well, I hope to pull a fast time in the race," the national champion told Standard Sports.

"I train daily, I feel ready, I'm always ready for any event, hopefully something good is going to come out from this competition on Saturday," Were said.

Were is proud of his current speed and rise in the rare discipline for Kenyans.

He believes the good build up he has done from the start of the season will give him an edge over his opponents who are thirsty to dethrone him.

His morale has been heavily boosted with taking part in the African Games in Accra Games last month.

He also believes Kip Keino Classic will give him a platform to gauge himself ahead of the World Relays in Bahamas next month where he is part of the 4x400 men's squad who will be seeking qualification for the Paris Olympics.

Were says taking part in 4x400m at the World Indoor Championship in Glasgow, Scotland early in the year where they finished fourth was also another great eye opener.

"It was our first time out there in the championship (World Indoors), a great learning experience that we will forever cherish. Attending the event means Kenyan sprinters are getting opportunities, they have started to go places," he said.

Were is also grateful that other sprinters got the chance this season to travel to South Africa where they did build up races and took part in a high level contest.

"This was good for the country, those who travelled down South gained valuable lessons on how to engage in relays on international fronts, the experience gained there will be key in our quest for glory in Bahamas, I believe Kenya is going to be a great force to reckoned with in the Bahamas Olympics qualifiers," he said.

While suggesting that there is great need to improve sprints in the country, Were is challenging sprinters to work hard by cultivating team work, assertiveness dedication and aggression in the discipline.

"These virtues matters, they are key in take-off and passing of the relay button. As sprinters, we need to work on these combinations day in and day out, they should flow in our minds and to our hands. If we perfect the art, then we will be ready to go for glory in Bahamas," he said.

Absa Kip Keino Classic men's 400m hurdles champions

2023: Wiseman Were 

2022: Wiseman Were 

2021: Nicholas Kiprotich

2020: William Mbevi

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