Triumphant Team Kenya jet back from Mauritius
What you need to know:
- Team captain Collins Omae said the 4x100m victory was by far the best performance of the championships.
- “We knew Omanyala would win the 100m, but we didn’t see the 4x100m win coming. Most historic thing is that half of the medals came from sprints,” said Omae.
The triumphant Team Kenya from the just concluded Africa Senior Championships in Reduit, Mauritius jetted back to a rousing reception Monday at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed was at hand with bouquets of flowers amidst songs and dances to receive the team of 56 athletes and 20 officials that landed at 11.30am aboard a chartered Kenya Airways plane.
Team Kenya once again topped the medal standings with 23 medals; 10 gold, five silver and 8 bronze.
“We have proved to the continent that we are a force to reckon with not only in long distance, but also sports and field events,” said Amina, who was accompanied by Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo.
Amina praised Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala for bringing that dream alive and demonstrating that it’s possible.
“Winning more gold medals gave us a lot of pleasure and pride. It proved that with commitment, determination, vision, love for the country and proper preparations, we can make it,” said Amina.
Omanyala became the second Kenyan to win the Africa 100 metres title, a feat he achieved 32 years after Joseph Gikonyo handed the country’s its maiden victory in Cairo.
Omanyala would anchor his team of Mike Mokamba, Samuel Imeta and Dan Kiviasi to the historic 4x100m victory, the first by the country in the event.
Maximilla Imali claimed silver in women’s 200m, Veronica Mutua settled for bronze in 400m, while Wiseman Were collected bronze in 400m hurdles. Mutua would then anchor the women's 4x400m team to silver.
The 2015 World javelin champion Julius Yego retained his title.
“We are now present in everything- in the field, sprints and track, and not just in long distance running, “said Amina.
“They now know that we have sprinters and that we are rising again in the field with Yego making a return to retain his title.”
Amina noted that Team Kenya proved unbeatable and promised to reward them accordingly for their efforts.
Amina also pledged to help the athletes prepare well for the World Athletics Championships due f July 15 to 24 in Oregon, Commonwealth Games programmed for July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England and World Athletics Under-20 Championships slated for August 1-6 in Cali, Colombia.
Amina said they are happy to have supported a winning team hence the government’s efforts were not in vain.
“We took them and brought them back in one plane, which is good for us. We are grateful that you have validated what we thought wasn’t possible with the support from the government,” said Amina, who also commended the public for rallying behind the team.
Amina said they shall discuss with Athletics Kenya on how best to reward them with President Uhuru Kenya having started the Sports Fund that has ensured that all sportsmen and women comfortably represent the country.
Team captain Collins Omae said the 4x100m victory was by far the best performance of the championships.
“We knew Omanyala would win the 100m, but we didn’t see the 4x100m win coming. Most historic thing is that half of the medals came from sprints,” said Omae.
Omae said that the rise of sprints orchestrated by Omanyala is unstoppable and bound to propel Kenya to new heights.
“We have proved to the federation that it can be done and we are capable. The ball is in AK’s court to support, nurture and give sprinters what they need,” Omae added.
Gold: Ferdinand Omanyala (100m), Winny Chebet (1,500m), Beatrice Chebet (5,000m), 4x100m (men), Caroline Nyaga (10,000m), Samuel Gathimba (20km race walk), Emily Ngii (20km race walk), Abel Kipsang (1,500m), Jarinter Mawia (800m), Julius Yego (javelin)
Silver: Purity Chepkirui (1,500m), Nicholas Kiplagat (1,500m), Maximilla Imali (200m), Daniel Simiu (5,000m), Women’s 4x400m relay
Bronze: Caroline Nyaga (5,000m), Abraham Longosiwa (10,000m), Geoffrey Kirwa (3,000m steeplechase), Veronica Mutua (400m), 4x400m mixed relay, Sylvia Kemboi (20km race walk), Wiseman Were (400m hurdles), Caren Chebet (3,000m steeplechase)