Mwaniki upbeat as Kenya’s Relays team heads to Japan
Kenya’s team for the World Relay championships slated for Yokohama, Japan on Saturday and Sunday jetted out Wednesday night ahead of the biennial event.
Head coach Stephen Mwaniki is roaring in confidence ahead of the two-day event where Kenya will be represented in 4x200m (men and women), 4×400 mixed relay, and the new event 2x2x400m race.
It was also a reprieve for Kenya after the 4x400m women team was later included in the event.
After overseeing team’s training for three weeks at the Nyayo National Stadium, Mwaniki- a seasoned sprints coach- said his charges are ready for the assignment although he expects tough competition from Caribbean Countries.
“We have had good preparations and so far, we are ready to fight for our flag. We expect that as usual the likes of Bahamas, Cuba and Jamaica will give us a strong challenge but we expect to improve on what we achieved in 2017,” Mwaniki told Citizen Digital.
Also, at stake for Kenya in the two-day event is a slot at the World Championships slated for Doha, Qatar later this year as well as the preparations towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where Mwaniki is upbeat on Kenya’s chances to hit the qualification standards.
“All the teams might not bring medals but this competition is also crucial for us in our preparations towards the Olympic Games and also in our quest to make it to the World Championships,” said Mwaniki.
In the 2017 competition held in Bahamas, Kenya made it to the finals of the 4x200m men and Mwaniki will be seeking to build on the result with two members of that team- Mike Mokamba and Mark Otieno present in this year’s event. The duo will be joined by Samuel Chege, Dan Kiviasi and Mark Kangethe.
In the women’s category Millicent Ndoro, Joan Cherono, Eunice Kadogo and Nevian Michira will carry Kenya’s hopes.
The trio of Skipper Aron Koech, Jared Momanyi and Alphas Kishoiyan who won gold in 4X400m race in last year’s African Championships will be joined by Hellen Syombua and Maximilla Imali in the 4x400m mixed relay race.
The 4x400m women team comprises of Maureen Thomas, Gladys Nthenya, Evangeline Makena and Veronica Mutua.
Kenya will also be represented in the newly introduced 2x2x400m by Collins Kipruto, Ferguson Rotich, Eglah Nalianya and Emily Cherotich, all who compete in 800m.
“We have no doubt in that team and being the first race on Saturday I am very hopeful we will get something,” observed Mwaniki.