Kenyan Sprinters Seek to Perfect Change-Over

The pre-Olympics focus in track and field will be in the relays with the Polish city of Silesia hosting the World Athletics Relays Championship on May 1 and 2.

And Kenya will, once again, be well represented with veteran sprinter Mike Mokamba wary of the fact that baton change-over holds key to a successful outing.

The former national 100 and 200 metres champion on Thursday said that besides having several fast athletes in the team, unlike at the 2019 championships in Yokohama, the Kenyan team is working on the mistakes that saw them finish fourth in the Japanese city.

The quartet of Mokamba, national 100m record holder Mark Otieno, Samuel Chege and Alphas Kishoyian clocked one minute and 22.55 seconds to settle fourth behind winners United States (1:20.12), South Africa (1:20.42) and Germany (1:21.26).

Besides Mokamba, the only other surviving member from the Yokohama team is Otieno. Others in the team for Silesia are Dan Kiviasi, Elijah Matayo and Hesbon Ochieng.

Mokamba noted that the team's change-over wasn't as smooth as it should have been in Yokohama, a situation he attributed to lack of orientation at 200m staggers (changeover markings).

"There was some light hiccup at the second and third change-over, and, for sure, it cost us, but I'm glad the coaches are working on it," Mokamba noted, explaining that they have started training at the actual staggers at Kasarani.

"This feels good and we are heading somewhere."

Mokamba intimated that right now, they have two athletes, who have run sub-21 seconds in the 200m this year, himself and Mark Otieno. "The last time, it's only me who had run below 21 seconds but having two of us feels great for the team."

Mokamba hastened to add that Kiviasi, Ochieng and Mathayo have equally been posting good times in training, a sign that they will be all on level terms before the team departs for Silesia.

Otieno has season's best 20.46, a time he posted while winning at All Comers Athletics Championships on April 11 at the National Heroes Stadium, Lusaka.

Otieno also won the 200m first final in 20.86 during the Third Leg of Athletics Kenya Series on February 6 where Mokamba claimed the second final in 20.96.

"I urge the coaches to have confidence in us that we shall deliver. That is what will inspire us in Silesia," said Mokamba.

Head coach Steven Mwaniki concurred with Mokamba saying that they have marked Kasarani with the 200m staggers that were never there before to help them crack the winning code in Silesia.

"This will help us resolve the change-over problem and we are working hard to bring Kiviasi, Ochieng and Mathayo at par with Otieno and Mokamba," said Mwaniki.

"We want to avoid the Yokohama debacle where Kenya didn't finish the 4x200m women's race," said Mwaniki.

The women's 4x200m team has Maxmilla Imali, Evangeline Makena, Doreen Waka, Monica Safania and Susan Nyambura.

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