Kenya’s first woman to win Olympics gives tips
Posted Wednesday, July 11 2012 at 23:30
“Eat well, have enough sleep and relaxation and avoid worrying.”
That was the advice to Team Kenya for the London Olympic Games from Pauline Konga, the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic medal.
“I believe they have had good and quality training and what is remaining now is to maintain that by keeping their bodies well and no pushing,” said Konga, who ended Kenya’s women’s Olympic medal drought when she won the 5,000 metres silver at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. “They just need to relax and enjoy the moment since worrying will deny them quality sleep, hence poor results.”
At a function on Tuesday evening where SuperSport unveiled its grand Olympic broadcast plan, Konga further advised the athletes to believe in themselves since that is the biggest support they can get.
Also present were Sports Minister Paul Otuoma, SuperSport chief executive officer Happy Ntshingila, National Olympic Committee of Kenya (KNOC) chairman Kipchoge Keino and the Athletics Kenya head, Isaiah Kiplagat.
While competition also depends on how one wakes up on the respective day, Konga tipped double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot as a favourite for both the 10,000m and 5,000m titles in London.
“Cheruiyot is strong and a favourite to win both events by virtue of her consistency since winning the World Cross Country title in Spain on to her track brace in Daegu,” said Konga.
However, Konga said that would depend on team work, adding that the women’s team should draw inspiration from their sweep in Daegu in the 10,000m.
“I must say Cheruiyot’s team mates, Sally Kipyego and Joyce Chepkirui, have shown their will and capability. I just can’t wait to see how they will work it out together,” said Konga.
The 42-year-old Konga said her silver medal exploit was enough to inspire her husband, Paul Bitok, to also claim silver in the men’s 5,000m at the same Olympics.
“It goes without saying what to expect in men’s 10,000m and 5,000m if the women are to sweep the podium places in the 10,000m race, which will come up first,” explained Konga.
She cautioned the athletes from focusing too much on their arch-rivals from Ethiopia, saying the Kenyans need to keep their Chinese and Japanese rivals even closer.
“I lost the Atlanta battle to China’s Wang Junxia, who featured nowhere in pre-race events,” Konga recalled, adding: “Most of them opt for home training and only surface at championship events, hence it is difficult to know their capability.”
Athletes present at the function included World 10,000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego, Viola Kibiwott (5,000m), Olympic and World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop and Nixon Chepseba (1,500m).
Olympics 800m champion Wilfred Bungei and Charles Asati, the 4x400m relay gold medal winner at the 1972 Games, were also present.
Tshingila said Kenya was capable of a bounty harvest of medals in London. He said SuperSport would be on air via eight dedicated channels – four each in High Definition and Standard Definition – with a new HD channel specifically for the London Games.