Let’s share the dream, and let the Games begin
Slightly over 5,000 days since the idea to host the 21st edition of the quadrennial Commonwealth Games was mooted at the southern city of Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, time has flown by and its now just a matter of hours before the efforts come to reality.
A total of 70 countries within the commonwealth territories will be taking part in this year’s games, 18 of them from Africa. Kenya, a powerhouse in the games will be taking part in the competition for the 16th time since they first graced the games in Vancouver, Canada in 1954.In the subsequent editions, Kenya has been an ever-present feature save for 1986 when she missed the games.
In hindsight, a total of 220 games medals have been won by Kenya, the 2010 edition being the most successful, where Kenya’s sportsmen and women took home 33 medals, 12 of them gold.
This year’s games theme, “lets share the dream”, will equally be shared by the Kenyan contingent of 138 athletes, 77 of them men and 61 women, as they aim to eclipse last edition’s performance where Kenya managed to take home a total of 25 medals;10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze.
This will not be the first time Kenyans compete at the state of Queensland after taking part in the 1982 Games held in the state’s capital Brisbane, 91 km north of Gold Coast.
It is a world event, a marquee championship and Kenya’s team will be hoping to exorcise the ghost that haunted them at the Athletics Championship where they only managed to win one gold medal, through Julius Korir, in the 3,000m steeplechase. Although the Kenyan boxing team was on hand to save face by winning three gold medals, that feat is yet to be replicated, as such, this championship gives Kenya’s pugilist the ultimate chance to right the wrongs.
Though Kenya will be competing in a number of disciplines, it’s expected, as has been the case in the past that its medal hunt proper will begin on the 8th April 2018 when the track and field events begin, at the Cararra Stadium when the trio of David Kiprotich Bett, Nicholas Kipkorir, and World under-18 Championship silver medalist Edward Zakayo take on the field at 17:45 pm local time (09:45 Am EAT).
Abraham Kibiwott, Amos Kirui and World and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto will take the mantle of defending the 3,000-metre steeplechase title, an event in which no athlete but a Kenyan has won a medal since 1994.
Apart from the usual track events, Kenya’s hunt for more medals this time round also moves to the field, with six athletes taking part in the events led by former World Javelin champion Julius Yego and Africa High Jump champion Mathieu Sawe.
Bethwel Lagat Long jump
Elijah Kimitei Triple jump
Mathieu Kiplagat Sawe High jump
Alex Toroitich Kiprotich Javelin throw
Julius Yego Javelin throw
Dominic Ondigi Abunda Hammer throw
Priscilla Tabunda Long jump
Lucy Omondi Hammer throw
Notably, boxing is the only other event Kenya has won a gold medal away from track and field, and this time round Kenya will be represented by a 10-man strong team; seven men and three women. The team was hit by the late withdrawal of upcoming femal sensation, Veronicah Mbithe, who has since joined the military.
Other boxers in Team Kenya include:
Shaffi Hassan −49 kg
Brian Agina −52 kg
Benson Njangiru −56 kg
Nicholas Okoth −60 kg
Edwin Owuor −75 kg
Nickson Abaka −81 kg
Elly Ochola −91 kg
Christine Ongare −51 kg
Lorna Simbi −69 kg
Elizabeth Andiego−75 kg
Suleiman Kangangi- Road race
Salim Kipkemboi -Road race
David Njau -Road race
Peter Waruiru- Road race
David Njau- Time trial
Cephas Kimani- Men’s Singles
Eunice Mbugua- Women’s Singles
Gabriel Wanjiku Men’s lightweight
Hellen Kariuki Women’s lightweight
Joyce Njuguna Women’s heavyweight
-Mr. Philip Muchiri, a veteran broadcaster and Sports Journalist is our man on the ground in Gold Coast, Australia and will bring you incisive reports throughout the competition.