Esther Mbagari: This is my time

Esther Mbagari of Prisons (third right) wins the 100m women's final race during the fourth leg of the Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meeting at Mbaraki Sports Club, Mombasa on April 1, 2023.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mbagari, 22, said her focus is to represent the country this season.
  • Kadogo has the time in 100m with her sesaon's best of 11.76.

The national 100 metres and 200m champion Esther Mbagari from Kenya Prisons will be a girl on a mission as the Athletics Kenya track season starts today at Moi Stadium, Kisumu.

Mbagari, 22, said her focus is to represent the country this season.

“It has always been my dream to one time represent my country at the highest level and I feel time has come,” said Mbagari as the journey to the busy 2023/2024 starts for her and a horde of other Kenyan athletes in Kisumu.

Mbagari, who is eager to emulate her role model, the multi-Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from Jamaica, burst to the limelight last season when she won both the national 100m and 200m titles.

Mbagari set her career best in June this year after winning the national titles in 11.68sec (100m) and 23.53sec (200m) at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The Kisumu event, the first leg of the Athletics Kenya Track and Field meeting, will be an exclusive event for sprinters, middle distance runners, throwers and jumpers.

The championships will feature 60m, 100m, 200, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m races for men and women. Women’s 100m hurdles and men’s 110m hurdles are also part of the schedule. 

Athletics Kenya director for competition Paul Mutwii said that the country hopes to field strong teams at the forthcoming four major events early next year.

The World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Belgrade, Serbia, African Games set for March 8 to 23 in Accra, World Athletics Indoor Championships on March 1 to 3 in Glasgow and the World Athletics Relay Championships set for May 4 to 5 in Nassau, Bahamas are the some of the events Kenya wants to do well in early 2024.

“I not only want to improve on my career best times but also hit the qualifying standards for all these events, God willing,” said Mbagari, adding that her ultimate goal next year is to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games after missing out on the World Athletics Championships held July this year.

Mbagari finished fourth in 100m and 200m during the National Athletics Championships last year, which was her debut season in Athletics Kenya championships.

Mbagari will battle the likes of former national 100m and 200m champion Eunice Kadogo from Kenya Police, among others.

Mbagari has already hit the Africa Games qualifying standards of 11.94 in 100m and 24.24 in 200m, with the qualifying time running from January 1 this year to February 20 next year.

Kadogo has the time in 100m with her sesaon's best of 11.76.