Kenya: Why There Is Hope for Local Sprinters to Reach Olympics

Silesia, Poland — Kenyan athletes, including those in 4x400 metres mixed relay, still have opportunities of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games after a dismal performance in the just-concluded World Athletics Relay Championships in Silesia, Poland.

In Silesia, Kenya was hoping to have its 4x400m mixed relay team, the women's 4x400m team and men's 4x400m team qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.

All of Kenya's teams in the above races which will be held at the Olympics failed to qualify. The teams failed to reach the final which was a pre-requisite for qualification.

According to the criteria for selection in 4x400 metres mixed relay, the top eight teams from the 2019 World Athletics Championships will be joined by another eight top teams from the world rankings to make 16 teams for the Olympics.

Athletes now have less than three months to qualify for the Olympics, with many looking forward to the Diamond League races which start this month.

On Friday, World Athletics president Seb Coe said the global athletics body did everything in its power to hold the championship so as to help more teams and athletes qualify for 2020 Olympics, and the 2022 World Championships.

"We had to hold the World Athletics Relays to make sure athletes compete and qualify for the Olympic Games and World Championships next year despite the challenges they have gone through due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Naomi Jerop Korir who is also eyeing a place Kenya's 800m team for the Olympics, race told Nation Sport that it was a dream come true after aiding her team to bag a silver medal in her first championships since she started competing in 2x2x400m mixed relay in 2019.

She is now eyeing to qualify for the Olympics Games to be held in Tokyo, through various races, including the Africa Senior Championships set for June 1-5 in Algiers.

"Claiming silver in 2x2x400m mixed is a dream come true. I'm really happy to have done it for my country. This shows that we have a bright future. My goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games through the Africa Senior Championships in the 800m race," Eldoret-based Jerop said.

The 2x2x400m mixed relay race is not among the fields of competition at the Olympics.

Rotich is now focusing on the Doha leg of the World Athletics Diamond League series where he is looking forward to improve his performance as he sets his eyes on the Olympic Games.

He pleaded with the Kericho County government to open Kericho Green Stadium for use by athletes. The facility was closed down when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

"It was the only stadium which we have been using for training. It's my plea that we be allowed access to the stadium as we prepare for races," said Rotich.

Shuttle hurdles mixed relays athlete Nusra Rukia said she feels good to have claimed bronze medal in a season best time with her teammates.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed lauded the team for posting good results on the first day of the championship.

"I'm very happy that the Kenyan World Relays Team did well by bagging two medals on the first day. We will continue to diversify our participation in sports by providing state of the art training facilities and curricula through the Kenya Academy of Sports," said Amina.

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