US-based Kenyan sprinter qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Moitalel Mpoke celebrates after winning silver in 400m hurdles at World Under-18 championships in Nairobi

Kenya's Moitalel Mpoke celebrates after winning silver in the men's 400m hurdles final during World Under 18 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 15, 2017.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The 20-year-old Mpoke clocked 48.89 seconds to win his 400m hurdles on Saturday during the South Eastern Conference Outdoor Championships at the E.B Cushing Stadium, Texas, United States
  • Mpoke met the Olympic qualifying standard by 0.01 seconds to also improved his personal best within three weeks by 0.72 seconds
  • Mpoke becomes third athlete from Kenya to qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games in sprint events after Hellen Syombua and Emmanuel Korir all in 400m


Kenya's 2017 World Under-18 400m hurdles silver medallist Moitalel Mpoke has qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 20-year-old Mpoke clocked 48.89 seconds to win his 400m hurdles on Saturday during the South Eastern Conference Outdoor Championships at the E.B Cushing Stadium, Texas, United States.

Mpoke met the Olympic qualifying standard by 0.01 seconds to also improve his personal best within three weeks by 0.72 seconds.

Following his win, Mpoke became the first athlete in the history of Texas University  to run a sub 49 seconds in the 400m hurdles breaking a 34-year-old record of 49.05, which was previously held by Craig Calk.

Mpoke becomes third athlete from Kenya to qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games in sprint events after Hellen Syombua and Emmanuel Korir all in 400m.

However, Korir, who is a  specialist in 800m qualified for Tokyo Olympics when he doubled up in 400m and 800m at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships.

Surprisingly, Korir reached the semi-finals in 800m but stormed the final of the 400m to finish sixth. He run an Olympic qualifying standard time of 44.37 seconds in the semis.

Syombua qualified during the 2019 African Games trials running 51.09 seconds to also set a new 400m national record.

So far 51 Kenyan athletes have attained the Olympic qualifying standards ahead of the national trials set for June 17 to 19 at Kipchoge Keino Stadium, Eldoret.

However, the number includes eight athletes named in the final men and women's marathon team.

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