'Get serious!' Syombua tells relay runners

From left: Kenya's mixed 4x400 metres relay team members Kipchumba Koech, Hellen Syombua, Nyatichi Thomas, and Nyambweke Momanyi celebrate after taking the third place in the mixed 4x400 metres relay final during the IAAF World Relays athletics event at the Nissan stadium in Yokohama, on May 12, 2019.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Syombua, who is also the national 400m record holder, said proper preparations was key to securing the Tokyo ticket
  • All the three legs of the series and the national trials will be staged at the Nyayo National Stadium owing to the challenges posed by Covid-19 protocols
  • Syombua, Jared Momanyi, Maureen Thomas and Aron Koech won bronze medals in mixed relays at the 2019 World Relay Championships in Yokohama, Japan

World mixed relays bronze medallist Hellen Syombua believes Kenya are capable of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games by  reaching the final of the mixed relay event at the 2021 World Relay Championships set for Silesia, Poland from May 1 to 2.

Syombua, who is also the national 400m record holder, said proper preparations was key to securing the Tokyo ticket.

Syombua also said the country can qualify for 4x400m relay especially the men’s event. But she said the athletes needed to get serious and attain the qualifying times.

This should get serious from Saturday when the team selection for the Silesia world event starts with the opening leg of Athletics Kenya Relay Series at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.

All the three legs of the series and the national trials will be staged at the Nyayo National Stadium owing to the challenges posed by Covid-19 protocols.

“We failed to make it to the Tokyo Summer Olympics by failing to reach the finals of the mixed relay race at the 2019 Doha World Championships,” said Syombua, who has already clocked the qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympics in 400m alongside Mary Moraa.

Syombua, Jared Momanyi, Maureen Thomas and Aron Koech won bronze medals in mixed relays at the 2019 World Relay Championships in Yokohama, Japan. It's the only medal that Kenya won at the event.

Kenya’s quartet of Alphas Kishoyian, Gladys Musyoki, Mary Moraa and Alex Sampao lost in the semi-final of their mixed relay race to finish 12th overall, and out of the Olympic qualifying bracket, at the 2019 Doha World Championships.

Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Great Britain, India, Jamaica, Poland and the USA qualified directly after reaching the final.

Syombua, who was still nursing a hamstring injury sustained during the Kenya Police Service Championships in 2019, failed to reach the semi-finals while Moraa reached this stage.

“We have strong men in 400m who can attain the 4x400m qualifying time but the women ought to get serious in training,” said Syombua.

Syombua and Moraa have shown interest in moving from 400m to 800m ahead of the Tokyo Games.

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