Athletes must redeem image after poor Oregon show

Emmanuel Korir

Kenya's Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir celebrates winning the men's 800m final during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 23, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Jewel Samad | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Neighbours Ethiopia and Uganda have shown they are ready to step up in races that have been previously dominated by Kenya like 1500m and steeplechase and it’s high time Kenya stamps its authority.
  • There is no better place to start than Birmingham with the 2023 Budapest World Championships coming in a year’s time. 

After an underwhelming outing at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon that saw Kenya finish fourth in the medal standings, Kenyans will be looking forward to a better performance at the Commonwealth Games that begin Thursday in Birmingham, England. 

Kenya only won two gold medals in Oregon, down from the five that they claimed in Doha, Qatar in 2019.

The country relinquished all its five titles from the previous 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha; in women's marathon, men and women's 3,000m steeplechase, women's 5,000m and men's 1,500m, but recaptured the women's 1,500m and men's 800m.

Olympic champions Faith Chepng’etich (1,500m) and Emmanuel Korir (800m) won gold medals for Kenya in their specialty.

Beatrice Chebet (5,000m), Hellen Obiri (10,000m), Judith Jeptum (marathon), Stanley Waithaka (10,000m) and Jacob Krop (5,000m) gave the country silver medals. Margaret Chelimo (10,000m), Mary Moraa (800m) and Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m) settled for bronze.

As the Commonwealth Games get underway, Kenyans will be waiting to see how the athletics team performs in Birmingham amid growing concerns of lack of teamwork in Team Kenya which clearly showed in the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase and 5,000 metres races in Oregon. 

Kenya’s best performance at the games came in 2010 Delhi, india where the country hauled 32 medals; 12 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze. All the medals came from athletics, save for one gold in swimming and two bronze in boxing.

Notably, athletics comprise majority of Team Kenyan in Birmingham with 50 slots allocated to the discipline so naturally a lot will be expected from them.

The Birmingham Games will be a perfect opportunity for Kenyan athletes to redeem themselves and restore Kenya’s reputation as an athletics powerhouse. 

Ferdinand Omanyala will look to add the Commonwealth Games gold to the African 100m title he won in Mauritius last month. While South African Akani Simbine made it to the final in Oregon, where he finished fifth, Omanyala bowed out at the semi-finals as fatigue took a toll on him. 

Well rested and in rich form, Kenyans will be expecting Omanyala to reach the podium in Birmingham.

Other athletes expected to improve their performance from Oregon are Krop, Moraa and Kipruto in 5,000m, 800m and steeplechase respectively. 

Neighbours Ethiopia and Uganda have shown they are ready to step up in races that have been previously dominated by Kenya like 1500m and steeplechase and it’s high time Kenya stamps its authority.

There is no better place to start than Birmingham with the 2023 Budapest World Championships coming in a year’s time. 

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