Kenya: Youngster Moraa Yearns Winning Championship Debut, Sum Looks to Roll Back Years

Nairobi — After scaling from the 400m to the two-lap 800m race, Mary Moraa, one of the breakout stars from the 2017 World Under-18 Championship in Nairobi will look to announce herself to the world with a memorable performance at her Olympics debut.

Moraa attained qualification time in June after clocking 1:59.25 on her way to victory at the Sollentuna Grand Prix, a World Continental Tour Bronze meeting in Sweden.

At the Kenyan trials, she cemented her place as one of the stars to look out in Tokyo after winning the race ahead of seasoned former World Champion Eunice Sum.

"I am delighted to have qualified for the Olympics because my dream was to fly my countru's flag high in a Championship. I have worked hard to be where I am today and I have been chasing qualification time all season," said Moraa.

The 21-year old won silver at the Under-18 Championship in Nairobi in the 400m and last year, made the decision to scale up and take the challenge in the 800m.

Her performances have been encouraging and she believes that is the best event for her.

"I think I am more comfortable doing the 800m because I have a good balance of speed and endurance. It hasn't been very hard to transition to the 800m and I feel that I have adapted to it very well,"

"My dream is to fight for a medal and I am quite confident that I can do it," she added.

In Tokyo, she will look up to the leadership from Sum, the 2013 World Champion who is also the Team Kenya Captain. Moraa says she looks up to Sum as a role model and will be more than delighted to race with her in Tokyo.

Sum herself is seeking to get herself back on top having struggled with injury for the past two seasons. She never made it past the semi-finals in Rio 2016 but is keen to better that feat with an eye in the final in Tokyo.

"My greatest target this season was to qualify for the Olympics. It has been a difficult campaign as I was battling with injury but I worked hard to be fit and healthy for the trials. I have worked equally hard in training and now my focus is on the medals in Tokyo," she said.

She expects a very competitive race in Tokyo but reiterates that Kenya can battle some of the best in the world to vie for a medal.

She starts off her campaign in Heat Two and for company will have reigning world champion, Ugandan Halima Nakaayi.

Moraa will start off in Heat Four with USA's Raevyn Rogers and Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson among those to also watch out for.

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