National team bristling with talent at high-stakes continental event

Mark Otieno

Kenyan sprinter Mark Otieno during a past training session at Nyayo National Stadium. 

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Athletics Kenya named the team to the Africa Championships on Tuesday evening.
  • Kenyan team comprises experienced athletes who have been there and done that.

The 23rd edition of the Africa Athletics Senior Championships starts on Friday next week in the Cameroonian city of Douala with hundreds of athletes from around the continent set to battle for top honours across different disciplines. 

The stakes in this year’s edition have been raised a notch higher, what with the competition also serving as a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics. 

Therefore, it promises to be an absolute thriller as athletes will be competing with one eye on the Olympics, scheduled to start on July 26 in the “City of Love”. 

Among the hundreds of athletes in contention at these championships, 59 of them will be donning the Team Kenya singlet. 

Experienced athletes

Yes, Athletics Kenya (AK) named the team to the Africa Championships on Tuesday evening and it comprises experienced athletes who have been there and done that, as well as promising youngsters who will debuting on the international scene. 

Looking at the names on the list, there is no reason why Kenya should not top the medal standings in Douala. 

The likes of Mary Nyaruai (African Games 1500m champion), Brian Komen (African Games 1500m champion) and Caroline Nyaga (Africa Championships 5000m champion) are runners who have been in scintillating form this season.

They are just but some of our representatives we can look for medals – if not gold, at the championships.

Add to the mix exciting names such as youngster Edmond Serem, former national 100m record holder Mark Otieno, the 2021 World Under 20 20km race walk champion Heristone Wanyonyi and the 2021 World Under 20 3,000m champion Teresiah Gateri, and what we have is a potent mix of Team Kenya that will fly the national flag high in Cameroon. 

Best performance

In an Olympics year, a great performance by these heroes and heroines will be the perfect appetiser for more sumptuous results to come in Paris. 

It will throw down the gauntlet for their peers who will represent Kenya at the Olympics to replicate the same performance – if not, go one better and produce the country’s best performance at the quadrennial games. 

As an athletics enthusiast, my duty is just to put them in my prayers and remain glued to the Internet and TV to get updated on how well they do in Cameroon. 

As an administrator, my duty is to provide them with the resources to ensure they are well-prepared to handle whatever competition comes their way at the championships. 

Keep calm and support Team Kenya; glory awaits us in Cameroon.

Korir is Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi Branch Chairman. [email protected]