Kenya: Sprinter Were's Wise Plan to Qualify for World Championships and Olympics

Nairobi — Commonwealth Games 4x400m relay bronze medalist Wiseman Were says he wants more than just to compete at this year's World Championships in Budapest, Hungary but also to shine at the Africa Championships and the Olympics as well.

The 25-year-old had a plentiful harvest in 2022 where he also clinched bronze at the African Championships in Reduit, Mauritius as well as the national titles in 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles.

These achievements notwithstanding, Were said he prefers taking baby steps to his destiny rather than huge leaps and bounds.

"Yeah, I have to work hard for it...I want to see myself in Budapest. I would not say it's my ultimate dream...not really. It is a step by step have to be African champion, All Africa Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and later see yourself in the Olympics and Diamond League," Were said.

However, the 25-year-old knows better than to sit back and wait for manna to fall from heaven rather is cognizant of the need to improve on his speed.

Having clocked a personal best of 49.09 in the 400m hurdles at last year's national trials for the World Championships at Moi Stadium, Kasarani, Were says he is encouraged to lower this time even further.

"My target this season is to run under 49 seconds. Last season, I had a good target, which I managed to achieve by running 49.08 in the 400m hurdles. So, this time I am hoping to run under 48 seconds or even is a process," Were said.

Apart from clinching bronze at last August's Club Games, Were also finished fourth in the men's 400m hurdles - a case of so near yet so far.

Despite missing out on a podium place, the sprinter describes the experience as enlightening.

"I have been doing well but I know I have to keep upping my efforts. At the Commonwealth Games, I was good but due to some challenges I finished fourth but I still thank God. It was my first race at that level of competition and was quite the eyeopener for me," he recounted.

His season began on a positive note at the past weekend's Athletics Kenya Track and Field Weekend Meeting at Nyayo Stadium, where he clocked 20.97 to win the men's 200m.

Dan Kiviasi finished second in 21.23 as Moses Wasike clinched third place in 21.31.

Were was over the moon, describing the win as a great day in the office and a huge step towards finessing his finishing, which he believes has been his Achilles heel.

"I was here to build on my speed in the 110m and 200m so that when I go back to my specialty of 400m hurdles, I can post fast times and probably see myself at thw World Championships. I am okay...I can see my body is moving very well because I have been training. So, I have to keep going," he said.

With the growing number of sprinters turning up for local competitions, Were believes Kenya can compete with their peers from other countries that have traditionally dominated these races.

He will be looking forward to the next leg of the weekend meeting set for next month at the Kenya Prisons Training College in Ruiru.

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