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Kenya’s first events in Rio: Focus will be on swimming and boxing as Olympics serves off

sports-dio data-Talisa Lanoe photo by Ernest Ndunda

With track and field action not starting until August 12, Kenya’s focus at the Rio Olympics will be at the boxing ring and the swimming pool after the opening ceremony on Friday night.

Kenya’s swimming duo of Talisa Lanoe and Hamdan Bayusuf will be in action today at the Olympics Aquatics Stadium while Rayton Okwiri will also be the first Kenyan to take to the boxing ring.

Lanoe has been pooled in heat 2 in the women’s 100m backstroke while Bayusuf will be in heat one in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Both swimmers are confident that they will do well although they know they will be facing stiff competition from good swimmers from other countries.

“I am confident I will make Kenya proud as I strive to improve on my personal best time of 1:07.05,” Lanoe, who is based in the United States of America told Feverpitch.

She said she has trained well and was always feeling good in competition and her coach in the US told her that she was ready to take on the best at the Olympics.

Lanoe will however, be facing swimmers who have faster times coming into the competition and will have to be at her best to ensure she qualifies to the next round of the competition. The best 16 swimmers out of 33 in the five heats will progress to the next round.

Claudia Lau of Hong Kong is the fastest in the heat having come into the Olympics with a qualifying time of 1:01.75.

Alexus Laird from Seychelles will also be in the same heat. She has a qualifying time of 1:02.33 while Kimiko Raheem from Sri Lanka is the other swimmer in the same heat who has a better time than Lanoe. Her best time is 1:05.61.

Bayusuf on the other hand, will have his main challenge coming from Merdan Atayev of Turkmenistan. Atayev has a qualifying time of 57.21 compared to Bayusuf’s 59.99.

David Van Der Colff (57.48) from Botswana and Jamaica’s Timothy Wynter (57.40) are the other swimmers who will be giving Bayusuf a tough time as he tries to book a slot in the next round of the competition.
Bayusuf, however, says he does not fear anyone as the tough part was qualifying for the Olympics.

“I am ready for any challenge that I will get in the swimming pool and I will not be under any pressure no matter the kind of competition I will be facing,” Bayusuf said.

In boxing Okwiri has the duty of stopping Russian Andrei Zamkovoi in the men’s Welter weight bout.

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