What you need to know:
- Biennial competition attracts top runners
- Jerop and Rotich line up in the mixed relays final tonight in the Polish city of Silesia
In Silesia, Poland
Naomi Jerop and Ferguson Rotich will line up in the final of 2x2x400 metres mixed relay Saturday night when the 2021 World Athletics Relay Championships gets underway in Silesia, Poland.
Kenyan athletes will be seeking to perform better than they did in the 2019 edition of the competition held in Yokohama, Japan.
In Yokohama, Kenya got only one medal - bronze in 4x400 metres mixed relay.
The event which has brought together more than 33 countries and will see teams seek qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games set for Tokyo, and the 2022 World Athletics Championships set for Oregon, USA. The two-day championship, which starts today, will be held at the Silesia Stadium.
Kenya is in a better position of bagging a medal in the mixed relay 2x2x400m where Jerop and Rotich will come up against athletes from home nation Poland, Slovak Republic, Portugal, Belarus and Germany from 10.06pm.
Wycliffe Kinyamal and Emily Tuei are the reserves.
Jerop, who is among the youngest athletes in Team Kenya, will compete in a world event for the first time.
“I’m really excited to be here and I will be doing my best to see if we can upgrade the bronze medal Kenya won in the last edition of the championship to silver or even gold. We prepared well and I’m looking forward to a good race,” Jerop said.
Sylvia Chesebe, who is representing Team Kenya for the fourth time, will compete in women’s 4x400m relay alongside her compatriots Veronica Mutua, Gladys Musyoki, Mary Moraa and Eglay Nalyanya.
Chesebe told Nation Sport that although the field looks competitive, they have what it takes to win, having had good preparations.
“We only need to get the running technique right. If we don’t handle the button well, it will cost us the prize. The teams look good but we also have to stamp our authority in the category,” said Chesebe.
Kenyan athletics fans will also pay special attention to men’s 4x200m relay where Kenya’s national record holder over 100m, Mark Otieno, will team up with Mike Mokamba, Hesbon Ochieng, Elijah Matayo and Dan Kwasi in the quest for.
“We are back for the relays and everybody looks good after a long break. Our target is to go for the best and we are going to work hard to get to the top,” said Otieno.
Others to watch in the team is the 4x200m where Maximilla Imali will be joining forces with Doreen Waka, Monica Sefania, Susan Nyambura and Joan Cherono.
In the shuttle relay, Kenya will be represented by Priscilla Ndunda, Michael Musyoka, Rukia Nusra, Wiseman Were, Vanice Kerubo and Aron Koech.
Saturday’s 4x400m mixed relay heats will see Aron Koech lead his compatriots Mary Moraa, Jared Momanyi, Joan Cherono, David Sanayek and Eglay Nalyanya in the quest for the gold medal. Two of the two athletes are reserves.
Stanley Kieti, Kelvin Kiprotich, Wycliffe Kinyamal, Raiyan William, David Sanaiyek and Jared Momanyi will represent Kenya in men’s 4x400m relay heats from 10.20pm.
Team manager Kennedy Tanui is optimistic of a good performance after good preparations.
“Our athletes have been away from competition for a long time, but they are coming back stronger. We hope they can perform better than they did in the previous edition of the championship in Yokohama,” said Tanui.
The event will see athletes qualify automatically for the 2022 World Athletics Championships planned for Oregon, and the 2020 Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo.
The first eight athletes in the 4x100m, 4x400m and 4x400m shall automatically qualify for the Olympic Games.
The first 10 athletes in the 4x100m and 4x400m, and the first 12 in the 4x400m mixed relay will automatically qualify for the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
Time Gender Event Round
8:00pm Women 4x400m Heats
8:35pm Men 4x400m Heats
9:08pm Women 4x100m Heats
9:39pm Men 4x100m Heats
10:06pm Mixed 2x2x400m Final
10:20pm Mixed 4x400m Heats
10:58pm Mixed S.H. Relay Final
Time Gender Event Round
8:20pm Mixed 4 x400 Metres Relay Final
8:35pm Men 4 x100 Metres Relay Final
8:46pm Women 4x100 Metres Relay Final
8:59pm Women 4x200 Metres Relay Final
9:13pm Men 4x200 Metres Relay Final
9:26pm Women 4x400 Metres Relay Final
9:42pm Men 4x400 Metres Relay Final