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After Glasgow Kenyan athletes now focus on Africa Championships

By JONATHAN KOMEN in GLASGOW | August 5th 2014
Kenya’s Janet Kisa (left), Mercy Cherono (centre) and England’s Jo Pavey on the podium after the 5000m finals at the Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. [PHOTOS: REUTERS]

GLASGOW: After 11 days of pulsating action, Kenya's track assassins head to Marrakech, Morocco, for the 19th Africa Senior Athletics Championships that runs from August 10-14.

Kenya won 10 gold, ten silver and five bronze to finish ninth at the just concluded 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

There is less activity in Glasgow, except for teams on tour of the city's spectacular sites. One of them is the People's Palace, set in historic Glasgow Green and is the home to a collection of historical artefacts. There is also the Theatre Royal Glasgow, which is the oldest in the city.

Since the contest ended on Sunday, most teams have boarded trains destined to Glasgow International Airport, Dublin Airport and Heathrow Airport in London – the most common entry points to the UK. Hampden Park Stadium and other competition venues are now deserted, as workers from Local Organising Committee keep removing items intended for the games.

There is little activity along Jamaica Street, where commercial sex workers made a kill from the visitors.

Kenya team leaves Tuesday to Morocco with huge dreams to pursue; which include revenge among them and perennial rivals Ethiopia in the North Africa nation.

It remains to be seen whether Kenyan athletes will live up to their promises to stop the Ethiopians in middle and long distance running.

Caleb Mwangangi, who thrilled fans with his mohawk and dyed hairstyle and his new-found celebratory theatrics in Glasgow, fired warning shots after winning 5,000m gold medal.

Mwangangi, who won Africa 1,500m title in Benin in 2012, said: "Ethiopians must understand that we are on the way to reclaim our position in 5,000m. We will take them head on."

"Expect my hairstyle to change but will retain the Akamba dance. I should give my fans a variety. You know, I am a man of swag (stylish lifestyle)," said Mwangangi.

Jairus Kipchoge Birech, who bagged silver in 3,000m steeplechase here on Saturday, is keen to prove critics wrong.

Birech, who is a cousin of 2007 world 800m champion Alfred Yego Kirwa, said: "I really wanted to win the race. But I am happy a Kenyan won the title. I stumbled on the barrier on my right knee and felt the pains. By the second last lap, Jonathan Ndiku had noticed and even pitied me," said Birech, who comes from Chesunet Village near Moi University's main campus.

"We will renew the battle at the Africa Championships. It will be a tough one since each one of us would love to compete at the Inter-Continental Championships, where they take 1-2 from each continent. The end justifies the means there," said Birech.

Mercy Cherono, who won gold in 5,000m, said: "I am happy of what has happened in Glasgow. We are now waiting to see if we can do the same in Morocco." Glasgow medals Joyce Chepkirui (10,000m gold), Florence Kiplagat (10,000m silver), Caleb Mwangangi (5,000m gold) and James Magut (1,500m gold) traveled home after the competition and will link up with team in Morocco. The rest are still at the Athletes Village here in Glasgow.

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