Ferguson Rotich, a member of the 4×800m team that won gold at the inaugural International Athletics Association of Federations (IAAF) World Relays Championship in Nassau, Bahamas, is confident the team will do well.
The 27-member team, which comprises a mix of sprint and middle-distance runners, and six technical staff left the country yesterday ahead of the IAAF World Relay Championship in the Bahamas.
Rotich, relishing his return to the Oceanic nation after winning a gold medal in the 4×800m relay race alongside Sammy Kirongo, Job Kinyor and Alfred Kipkete, will be hoping to steer Kenya to victory again.
The withdrawal of two-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop and Commonwealth 1,500m silver medallist Ronald Kwemoi, means the 25-year-old Rotich will be charged with the responsibility of guiding the team to a podium finish.
Kiprop led Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat and James Magut in breaking the 4x1500m world record in a time of 14:22.22. The organisers, have, however, since replaced the event with a medley relay team (1,200m, 400m, 800m and 1,600m).
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Kenya’s medley team has Rotich, Abednego Chesebe, Joseph Porghisio and the late inclusion Timothy Cheruiyot from Rongai Athletics Club.
“I’m glad to go to Bahamas once again. We have good team that the country can rely on. We have gelled well and hope to achieve good results. We are not affected by the withdrawal of some members of the team,” said Rotich yesterday evening as the team left for Nassau, Bahamas, aboard Emirates Airlines.
The establishment of relay championships came as a blessing for Kenyan sprinters who for many years have been overlooked, something head coach Sammy Rono is pleased with.
“Now our sprinters are being exposed to the world after lagging behind for many years. This has boosted their confidence and morale.” said Rono who added, “Our 4x400m team is very strong and will cause upsets in Nassau.”
The 4x200m men team that includes captain Collins Omae, Pius Muia, Mike Mokamba, Geoffrey Kiprotich and Mark Otieno, got a boost when Athletics Kenya gave them a wildcard to US-based Carvin Nkanata, who posted a world leading time of the season of 20.14 seconds in 200m at the Pure Athletics Sprint Festival in Florida early this month. Nkanata will join the team in the Bahamas.
Men: 4X200m: Geoffrey Kiprotich, Pius Muia, Michael Mokamba, Collins Omae, Mark Otieno
4x400m: Alfas Keshoyan, Alex Sampao, Boniface Mweresa, Michael Makan, Raymond Kibet
4x800m: Alfred Kipketer, Jeremiah Mutai, Timothy Kiptum, Bernard Kipyegon
Medley: Ferguson Rotich, Abednego Chesebe, Joseph Porghisio and Timothy Cheruiyot
Women 4x800m: Annet Mwanzi, Sheila Chesang, Eglay Nalianya, Sylvia Cherop, Purity Cherotich
Medley: Selah Jepleting, Sylvia Chesebe, Virginia Nyambura, Joyce Zachary, Francisca Koki. Coaches: Sammy Rono, Stephen Mwaniki, Rose Muya.