Otieno counting days to Olympics blast-off

Mark Otieno

Kenyan sprinter Mark Otieno works on his take-off technique during training at the Fukuoka Prefecture Kurume Sports Centre in Kurume City, Japan on July 19, 2021.

Photo credit: Edward Alusa | Team Kenya

What you need to know:

  • Otieno is happy with the pre-Olympics training camp idea, saying his experience in Kurume could provide the game changer.
  • “I’d like to thank the government and Olympic committee for organising this camp.
  • “To acclimatise ahead of a major competition is something good. In fact that’s what most top athletes do – they don’t train at home, but look for good pre-season training camps.”

In Tokyo, Japan

Mark Otieno Odhiambo is a spiritual man. Quite spiritual.

Besides spending time working on improving his speed, the Kenyan sprints sensation – together with his wife Stephanie Muluka-Odhiambo – spares time to push youths onto the fast track to salvation.

Otieno believes divine intervention pushed him to the Olympic stage.

He is currently at the Team Kenya camp in Kurume, Japan, along with his friendly rival Ferdinand Omanyala, the national 100 metres record holder.

The last four years have been monumental in Otieno’s career.

It is over this period that he clocked his personal best times in the 100 and 200 metres races, first running 20.41 seconds in the 200m at Kasarani on June 10, 2017, then improving his 100m personal best time to 10.05, also at Kasarani during last month’s Olympic qualifiers.

Mark Otieno

Kenyan sprinter Mark Otieno works on his take-off technique during training at the Fukuoka Prefecture Kurume Sports Centre in Kurume City, Japan on July 19, 2021.

Photo credit: Edward Alusa | Team Kenya

It’s now just days to D-day, with the 100m preliminary rounds penciled for July 31 at the Olympic Stadium.

“Right now I’m trying to peak for the event,” he said after yesterday’s training session at the Fukuoka Prefecture Kurume Sports Centre.

“Things are looking good for next week and I’m trying to maximize on the humidity. As much as the sun is intense, if you stay hydrated, all will be well.”

Otieno really doesn’t have much to do in the remaining days, save for polish up and eat well.

“I’m just checking on my technique right now and working on my diet, changing a few things in the last two weeks.”

Otieno is happy with the pre-Olympics training camp idea, saying his experience in Kurume could provide the game changer.

“I’d like to thank the government and Olympic committee for organising this camp.
“To acclimatise ahead of a major competition is something good. In fact that’s what most top athletes do – they don’t train at home, but look for good pre-season training camps.”

Otieno spoke as the men’s sevens rugby team prepared to leave the Kurume camp for the Tokyo Olympic Village this morning.

The fresh arrivals at the Olympic Village last night included the women’s beach volleyball team and taekwondo team along with the boxers.

Kenya’s chef de mission here, Waithaka Kioni, is upbeat that everything is going on well, save for the fact that half of the women’s rugby team is still in precautionary quarantine.

“I will be speaking with the doctor in charge of the quarantine tomorrow (today) to appraise myself on the situation and to see what can be done to have the players join the rest of the team,” Kioni said.

He added that Team Kenya was upbeat after mobile telephone manufacturer Samsung delivered 87 Samsung S21 range of mobile phones for the team.

“These phones are strictly for players only and there are no extras to give officials. Samsung have given them based on their qualification to compete at the Olympics for which we are extremely grateful,” Kioni, also the President of the Kenya Volleyball Federation, said.

Meanwhile, the women’s volleyball team held their first training session in Tokyo yesterday with coach Paul Bitok awaiting confirmation of their build-up match against Argentina this week.

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