What you need to know:
- This is not to diminish the stature of the opposition. No doubt, we are marked by many as the country to watch on the track and field and thus, our competitors will up their game to try and match us.
- Nonetheless, onwards we march into battle, fully convicted that yes we can...we can do better than the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The purpose of warm-up or friendly matches before a major competition is mainly to gauge one’s strengths and weaknesses and address the latter.
These events or competitions often provide us as sportspersons with what to expect in a major international championship in addition to inculcating a competitive mood or attitude.
In this aspect, sportspersons are like sharks, which aggressively swoop in for the kill once they get a whiff of blood. For many of our athletes going to the Tokyo Olympics, the Diamond League has been the perfect precursor to success at the quadrennial games.
Just like thousands or millions of other Kenyans, I have been watching with keen interest the exploits of our athletes in Gateshead, Doha, Florence, Stockholm, Monaco and London - the cities where the series has been held thus far.
What better timing than for our athletes to go toe-to-toe with the creme-de-la-creme in their respective categories in such a high caliber and high stakes competition?
For the better part of last year and part of 2021, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation and postponement of many international events.
For our athletes, this was a psychologically and physically torturous period as they had no opportunities to do what they love to do best.
They could not even gauge whether their training - undertaken mostly in solitude - was making them better athletes or they were simply regressing.
It is therefore a huge sigh of relief for all stakeholders to see the Diamond League progress without any hiccups.
Better yet, we are bullish that a medal haul awaits us in Tokyo on the back of exemplary performances by our athletes in the series.
Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m), Hellen Obiri (5,000m), Faith Kipyegon (1,500m), Ferguson Rotich (800m), Wycliffe Kinyamal (800m) and Hyvin Kiyeng have been the headline stars of the Diamond League so far and there is no reason not to believe they can replicate these successes in Tokyo.
From the aforementioned names, there is a high probability of five gold medals - if we are to base our hope on their performances.
Of course, even for those who have been mostly training at the Moi Stadium Kasarani residential camp, there are numerous prospects for gold considering they have been under the watchful eyes of their renowned coaches.
This is not to diminish the stature of the opposition. No doubt, we are marked by many as the country to watch on the track and field and thus, our competitors will up their game to try and match us.
Nonetheless, onwards we march into battle, fully convicted that yes we can...we can do better than the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Glory awaits us in Tokyo.