Sprinter Boniface Mweresa has been included in Team Kenya for the Word Indoor Championships due on March 17 to 20 in Portland, USA.
The African Games 400m silver medallist will be joining the team for their first local training on Saturday at Nyayo National Stadium before departure on Tuesday next week.
“Mweresa has been outstanding in his indoor build-up in Spain and Belgium in February where he ran personal best in one of the meetings,” said Team Kenya manager Francis Afundi.
He chalked a surprise victory in 400m at the Catalan Centenary Indoor Meet in Sabadell, Spain, clocking a personal best 46.46 seconds on February 19 after edging out Italian Galvan Matteo to second in 47.05 in Final A. Home athlete Mark Sanchez settled third in 47.32.
Mweresa’s time is now ranked 25th in the world this season.
The 22-year-old sprinter, who was an outdoor personal best of 45.01 from the African Games last year in Congo Brazzaville, started his Indoor season well on February 13, finishing second in 47.08 at Gent Indoor in Belgium.
“The training has been superb since I returned to the country a week ago,” said Mweresa, a Private in the Kenya Defence Forces. “The performance in Europe inspired me more. I can achieve more if I focus and work hard.”
Mweresa, who won the African Games 400m silver medal in an Olympic qualifying time of 45.01, losing the battle to Africa champion Isaac Makwala (Botswana) 44.35, has been working on his finishing speed and strength under coach Sammy Macharia in Nyeri.
“I want to hold the pace while in flight,” said Mweresa.
Macharia said Mweresa should power to the final not only at the World Indoors but outdoor at the Rio Olympic Games. “We must laud him for being the first Kenya in many years at World Indoor,” said Macharia.
Afundi disclosed that it’s only USA-based Betsy Saina, who is not in the country. “She will link up with the rest of the team in the USA where she has already competed in some races in Portland.”
Saina will compete in 3,000m alongside Nancy Chepkwemoi, who won her 3,000m race in personal best 8:49.06 at Glasgow Indoor, the last meet of the IAAF World Indoor Tour on February 20.
Saina defeated America’s 5,000m record holder, Molly Huddle, with a fantastic finish over the final 200-meter lap to win the 5,000m at the prestigious Millrose Indoor Games in New York on February 26 in personal best 14:57.18 seconds.
Newly crowned 2016 World Indoor Tour Series 3,000m champion Augustine Choge and World Indoor 3,000m champion Caleb Mwangangi will lead the team.
Choge, the 2012 World Indoor 3,000m silver medallist and Mwangangi, the World 5,000m silver medallist, will team up with the 2013 World 5,000m bronze medallist Isaiah Kiplangat in the 3,000m race.
400m: Boniface Mweresa
800m: Edward Kibet, Jeremiah Mutai
1,500m: Vincent Kibet, Bethwel Birgen
3,000m: Augustine Choge, Caleb Mwangangi, Isaiah Kiplangat
800m: Margaret Nyairera
3,000m: Nancy Chepkwemoi, Betsy Saina
Francis Afundi (team manager), Alice Adala (Chaperone), Kenneth Kimweng’etich, Edward Mwema (Coaches).