What you need to know:
- Saturday’s course in Poland consists of four loops of about 5.5 kilometres each with the spectator numbers reduced due for health reasons owing to Covid-19.
- Romania’s 2008 Olympic champion Constantina Dita has been named an ambassador for the championships, World Athletics reported Tuesday.
Kenya’s team to Saturday’s World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland, was scheduled to fly out of Nairobi Tuesday night aboard a Qatar Airways flight.
The athletes, who left the Eldoret International Airport Tuesday evening aboard Fly540 for Nairobi where they were scheduled to connect to Poland, via Doha, said they were going to wrestle back the overall team title currently held by Ethiopia.
“We are going to do our best in the races and our main target — because we are going to run as a team — is to bag team gold in the women’s category,” said team captain Peres Jepchirchir, the former world half marathon record holder.
Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei wished the team well saying Kenya had sent the best team that is expected to win medals despite the challenges they went through during their coronavirus-affected training.
“We managed to kit the athletes, including giving them the winter jackets and organised for their Covid-19 testing and they are good to go. We want to wish them all the best in the race on Saturday and we hope both men and women titles will come back to Kenya,” said Tuwei.
Saturday’s course in Poland consists of four loops of about 5.5 kilometres each with the spectator numbers reduced due for health reasons owing to Covid-19.
Romania’s 2008 Olympic champion Constantina Dita has been named an ambassador for the championships, World Athletics reported Tuesday.
“Dita competed at eight editions of the World Half Marathon Championships and earned seven medals in the process, making her one of the most successful athletes in the history of the event,” a statement from World Athletics added.
The Kenyan women’s team is certainly the most competitive as it includes world half marathon record holder Peres Jepchirchir, former world half marathon record holder Jepkosgei and the experienced Rosemary Wanjiru, Dorcas Kimeli and Brilliant Jepkorir.
Wanjiru was eyeing a good season with her main target being the Olympics Games, but the coronavirus disrupted her plans forcing her to go back to Japan where she works with Starts Corporation, a Real Estate company.
She joins a long list of athletes representing their companies in the popular Japanese Ekiden (relay marathon) races, among other competitions across the world.
Wanjiru flew into Kenya in August and is happy her preparations went on well.
“I’m happy that I will be representing my country again and I have done good training despite the challenges we have gone through in training.
“The race is competitive because we shall be running with some of the best athletes in the distance but I will do my best to be in the podium,” said Wanjiru who was born in Nyahururu.
Training alone was a challenge for her as she has always enjoyed group training when she comes home. But this year was different due to Covid-19.
Brilliant Jepkorir, one of the Kenyan team’s dark horses, will also be looking forward to a beautiful race. But her joy is competing for the country she loves.
Jepkorir, who trains in Iten, said she had prepared well and her big test is on Saturday where she will be eyeing a podium finish despite running with some of the best athletes in the world.
“Competing with world record holders is not a joke and I know the pace will be fast. I will do my best to cling onto the group. I have trained well and I’m happy I was injury free and we are looking forward to a good race,” Jepkorir, who will be representing the country for the third time, said Tuesday.
Team Kenya to the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland:
Kibiwott Kandie, Bernard Kipkorir, Bernard Kimeli, Leonard Barsoton and Morris Munene.
Peres Jepchirchir, Brilliant Jepkorir, Joyciline Jepkosgei, Rosemary Wanjiru and Dorcas Kimeli.
Patrick Makau (head coach), Catherine Ndereba (chaperone) and Patrick Kipsang (team manager) and Jonas Tonge (co-ordinator).