Kenya's relay teams fail to book Olympics slots at Bahamas meet

Ferdinand Omanyala. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenyan teams failed in their bid to book Olympic slots as the World Athletics Relays started in Bahamas on Saturday night.

The winners and second-placed teams in the five disciplines raced on Saturday (yesterday morning in Kenya) secured slots to Paris Olympics but unfortunately no Kenyan relay team was among them.

In the 4x400m mixed relay team, the Kenyan team of Kennedy Muthoki, Mercy Chebet, Kevin Kipkorir and Maureen Thomas finished last in Heat three which was won by Ireland.

The top two teams in each of the four heats booked a slot to the Olympics.

It was the same result for the 4x100m relay team anchored by 100m Africa champion Ferdinand Omanyala.

The team that also had Hesborn Ochieng, Mark Otieno and Meshack Babu finished last in Heat four which was won by Japan.

The men 4x400m team did run a good race compared to the other Kenyan teams but they still finished fifth in Heat three which was won by Italy.

The team of Wiseman Were, Boniface Mweresa, Brian Tinega and David Sanayek clocked a season best time of 3:03.29.

The first eight teams to have qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in each the five disciplines were confirmed on Saturday following the opening day of competition in Nassau. Fourteen teams in the women’s and men’s 4x100m and 4x400m plus the mixed 4x400m in Nassau automatically qualify for places at the Paris Olympics. On Saturday, the top two teams in each of the four heats per event secured spots for their respective World Relays finals yesterday, while also booking their places for Paris.

Three nations – France, Great Britain & Northern Ireland and USA – each qualified four teams for Paris, while another three – Canada, Italy and Poland – qualified three each.

The mixed 4x400m heats got the session started in record-breaking fashion. In this first round alone, eight teams finished inside the previous championship record that had stood for seven years - USA’s 3:11.52 to win heat two topping the lot.

USA also led the first round in both the women’s and men’s 4x100m, while Ireland set a national record to top the list of women’s 4x400m qualifiers and Botswana pipped South Africa in a brilliant men’s 4x400m battle.

Teams competed for prize money and Olympic lane seeding positions in yesterday’s finals. All other teams will race in the additional round where the top two teams in each of the three heats will also qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Following the qualification of 14 teams per event in Nassau, the remaining two places for Paris in each discipline will be awarded based on top lists during the qualification period ( December 31, 2022 to June 30, 2024).

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