Athletes in fight for slots to CAA Senior Championships

Top athletes converge at the Moi Intentional Sports Centre, Kasarani from Thursday to Saturday  for the National Trials as they bid to nail down slots for the CAA Senior Athletics Championships set for Asaba, Nigeria from August 1-15.

Some of the stars that will headline the three- day championships include Olympic Games medalist and World Championships title holders led by Hellen Obiri (5,000m), Julis Yego (Javelin), Elijah Manangoi(1,500m), Nicholas Bett (400m hurdles) as well as  2016 African Championships defending champions, Mathew Sawe (High Jump) and the 20km walk duo Samuel Gathimba and Grace Wanjiru .

Just like Manangoi, Yego  and  Bett who are interested in nailing tickets to the Nigerian assignment, Obiri will be targeting a slot in Team Africa for the IAAF Continental Cup scheduled for September 18 and 19 in Ostarava,Czech Republic but will first have to book her place in Team Kenya during the CAA Africa Championships slated for August Nigeria.

Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi wins the final of the men's 1500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD

“This will be the first time I shall be going for the Africa Championships as a 5,000m athlete. In 2014 I brought the 1,500m title but did not have a podium finish during the World Cup. I’m confident in my training and I can see good results ahead, especially during the Continental Cup. I hope when I compete in the 3,000m it will erase the 2014 disappointments where I finished fourth (4:08.15), out of the medal bracket,”  Obiri said in an interview with Citizen Digital during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships at Kasarani last week.

Olympic 400m hurdles silver medalist Boniface Mucheru will not be defending his 2016 title, to focus on his recovery after suffering a hamstring injury on both legs last year .The niggling injury worsened during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships two weeks ago.

(From Left) USA's Kerron Clement, Philippines' Eric Cray and Kenya's Boniface Mucheru Tumuti compete in the Men's 400m Hurdles Semifinal during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016.

“… I have not been able to compete for a long time or even lift my legs over the hurdles. This season I shall only compete at the KDF Championships and take a rest to focus on next year’s World Championships,” Mucheru, an air-force officer based at the Laikipia Airbase told Citizen Digital at the KDF Championships two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Athletics Kenya (AK) president Retired Lieutenant General Jackson Tuwei has said preparations are ongoing for the championships as they compile a start list from the various names submitted by the regional teams, adding that the team will be coached by Stephen Mwaniki of Kenya Prison Services, while Central Rift chairman Abraham ‘Solo’ Mutai will be the team manager.

In their last quest at the 2016 Africa Championships in Durban, South Africa, Team Kenya bagged a total of 24 medals; 8 gold, an equal number of silver and bronze respectively, ranking second overall in Africa as the host claimed 33 medals to finish top of the medal table.