Kenya eyes sprint and field titles at Worlds

Nairobi, July 30 (IANS) For long, Kenya has dominated the middle and long distance races at global athletics championships, but in the Beijing Worlds in August, the East African country will try to widen its scope as it focuses on sprint and field events.

Commonwealth Games javelin champion Julius Yego is still basking in the glory of his 91.38 metres throw in Ostrava Golden Spike meeting in the Czech Republic, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

He wants to carry that form to Beijing, where he will be competing for the third time.

“I will be returning to Beijing,” he said on Wednesday here. “But this time it will not be the Beijing Grand Prix, but for the World Championships. I liked the stadium in my last two episodes and I hope I will be third time lucky to claim gold for Kenya.”

But as Yego schemes a medal rush in the field events, Kenya is also parading its best sprinter this season in Carvin Nkanata, the California based athlete, whose 20:14 second run in May was for some time a world lead.

Nkanata will lead eight sprinters from Kenya to Beijing for the World Championships for the onslaught in the 200 metres race. Short distances coach Steven Mwaniki hopes that a few more will join them during the Kenyan trials in Nairobi on Friday and Saturday.

Also qualifying in the distance is Mike Mokamba. “The two are strong challengers at the national trials. I hope they will get other inspired opponents to push them through,” said Mwaniki.

In the 400 metres hurdles race, Boniface Mucheru (48.92 seconds) has beaten the qualification mark of 49.50 seconds and is the sole candidate to carry the Kenyan flag. It will be a tough call to his challengers Nicholas Bet (49.69 seconds) and Haron Koech (49:71 seconds).

In the 400 metres flat, Kenya has three qualifiers in the men’s race who have run under the required 45.50 seconds. They are Alex Sampao (45.22 seconds), Raymond Bett (45:39 seconds) and Alphas Kishoyan.

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