What you need to know:
- On July 8, officials named a team of 57 to compete in Budapest. Kenya’s decision not to field the men’s 4x100m relay team at the championship has trimmed the team to 54 members.
- Last week, Kenya replaced 1,500m runner Brenda Chebet in the team with Purity Chepkirui who finished fourth at the national trials.
Go out there, compete clean and conquer the world. That is the message Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba, on Thursday gave Team Kenya athletes who will compete in the 2023 World Athletics Championships from August 19-27 in Budapest, Hungary.
Speaking on Thursday while handing over the national flag to the 54-member Team Kenya at his office in Maktaba House in Nairobi, Namwamba urged the athletes to represent the country with distinction and honour.
“The World Athletics Championships is the highest level of competition in athletics. It is the world cup of athletics, and I urge you to represent Kenya with honour and dignity. I urge every single member of Team Kenya to compete fair and win clean so as to raise Kenya’s image higher internationally,” Namwamba, who was flanked by Principal Secretary Peter Tum, Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei and the team’s manager, David Bunei, said.
Pointing to the example set by world 800 metres record holder David Rudisha, and 2010 Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Milcah Chemos, Namwamba urged the athletes to shun doping.
Rudisha will attend 2023 World Athletics Championships on the invitation of World Athletics, while Chemos is part of Kenya’s quality assurance team for the championship.
The team has been in three-week residential training at Sports View Hotel in Kasarani from July 13. The first batch of the team leaves for Budapest on Monday.
Namwamba also said the government had made seamless travel plans for the team to Budapest to avoid runners getting caught up in delays.
“Last year when our athletes competed in the world championships in Oregon, there were delays which affected some members of our team. This time round we have made seamless plans for athletes to travel to Budapest. The first batch of Team Kenya athletes will leave for Budapest on Monday (August 14) as planned, and all the athletes will travel as scheduled,” he said.
He said the government had put in place an enhanced scheme to honour award-winning athletes, and those who excel in Budapest would be recognised.
Tuwei took note of the strides Kenya had made in the global track and field championships, saying the country ranks only second to USA in terms of the total number of medals won since the 1983 edition of the championship held in Helsinki. He said Team Kenya selectors had named the best team to compete in Budapest.
“We have selected the best team possible to represent us in the 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, and given them the best preparation possible. The onus is on them to make us proud,” Tuwei said.
Team Kenya captain, 20km race walker Emily Ngii, said the athletes were ready to work hard and put Kenya back to the top of the overall medal standings, a feat the country last achieved in 2015.
Ngii and her deputy Julius Yego asked team officials to ensure that their local and overseas allowances are paid in time.
On July 8, officials named a team of 57 to compete in Budapest. Kenya’s decision not to field the men’s 4x100m relay team at the championship has trimmed the team to 54 members.
Last week, Kenya replaced 1,500m runner Brenda Chebet in the team with Purity Chepkirui who finished fourth at the national trials.