Kenyan race walkers upbeat ahead of Worlds

Samuel Gathimba and Simon Wachira (right) during the men's 20km walk race during the Commonwealth Games Trials.[Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

Three-time Africa Walking champion Samuel Gathimba will anchor Kenya's medal hunt at the World Athletics Race Walking Championships set for Muscat, Oman, on March 4-5.

Race walking coach George Kariuki will lead the five-member squad –comprising four men and a woman – to the global showpiece.

The men’s line-up features Gathimba, Dominic Ndigiti, Simon Wachira of Kenya Defence Forces alongside Emily Ngii. They will compete in the 20km contest.

At the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Ngii won gold medal in the women's 20km walk, her second continental medal after winning silver at the 2014 African Athletics Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

Kariuki expressed delight that Kenya is making its debut at the global walking race saying that it's a perfect opportunity for the team to gain experience.

 Heristone Wanyonyi, the world under-20 champion, will compete in 10km event.

"This is the first time Kenya is sending a team to World Athletics Race Walking Championships. It shows the growth and this will be a great chance for the athletes to attain qualifications standards for World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon," said Kariuki.

Meanwhile, World Athletics is appalled by developments in Ukraine and condemns the Russian military invasion. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has spoken with his senior vice-president Sergey Bubka and the Ukrainian Athletics Federation and has offered whatever practical support we can give.

“We continue to monitor the situation carefully, but there is no reason to believe this will affect plans for the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22 or the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22. Should these circumstances change, we will notify all our stakeholders promptly.

“Please note that the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has been suspended from World Athletics since 2015, due to doping violations, and therefore is not eligible to host World Athletics events or send teams to international championships,” said Coe

Kenyan squad

1.   Heristone Wanyonyi: 10km Race Walking men, Under 20

 2.   Samuel Gathimba Kireri:  20km Race Walk men

 3.   Dominic Samson Ndigiti: 20km Race Walk men

 4.   Simon Wachira: 20km Race Walk men

 5.   Emily Ngii: 20km Race Walk women


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