Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mutai out to retain Commonwealth Games title

PHOTO | FILE Mark Mutai poses after finishing the 400m semi final race during the All Africa Games at the Estadio Nacional in Maputo on 12 September 2011.

PHOTO | FILE Mark Mutai poses after finishing the 400m semi final race during the All Africa Games at the Estadio Nacional in Maputo on 12 September 2011.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Commonwealth Games 400m champion Mark Mutai believes he will be in a better form to retain his title when the 'Club' Games go down July 23 to August 3 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Even though he has faced several challenges since he won the one lap race title at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, Mutai said he is working hard to ensure the title remains in Kenya.

Mutai, who is in Kenya’s 4x400m men’s team for the World Relays due May 24 to June 15 in Nassau, Bahamas said lack of exposure has been his main challenge since winning in India. “We rarely get invites to major events,” Mutai said.

“Our training programmes are not up to the required international standards because of inferior facilities hence qualifying to major events is a pipedream.”

However, the 36-year-old Mutai said it’s his intention to retain the 400m title besides improving on his personal best time of 45.28 he set when he finished fourth during the 2010 Africa Championships in Nairobi.

He was also in the 4x400m team that won gold at the 2010 Africa Championships.

Mutai said he is glad that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has cleared Kenya’s 4x400m men’s team for the World Relays.

“Our spirits are high but it should act as a lesson to us that we should not take things for granted,” said Mutai.

Kenya had failed to attain the qualifying standard time of 3:04.10 during the National Trials in Nairobi last month forcing AK to write to IAAF seeking a reprieve.

FAILED TO MEET REQUIRED TIME

Kenya's 'A' team clocked 3:05.36 to win the 4x400m race but failed to make the qualifying time by 1.26 seconds. AK had also moved to remedy the bungled team selection by including the men’s 4x200m team.

The 4x400m team will comprise Mutai, the 2012 Africa 400m hurdles bronze medallist Boniface Mucheru, Solomon Bwoga, Alex Sampao, Vincent Kosgei and Nicholas Bett.

Mucheru and Kosgei are the only athletes who made Kenya’s 4x400m team for the 2012 London Olympic Games while none of the aforementioned was in the team for the 2013 Moscow World Championships.

Mutai made his major breakthrough in the 400m when he qualified for the 2009 Berlin World Championships where he clocked 47.04. He could have finished third at the 2010 African Championships Nairobi, but clocked personal beat 45.28. Mutai was in the team that won the 4x400m gold clocking 3:02.96.

He also made the 4x400m team that won bronze at the 2010 World Cup in Split, Croatia before winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India in 45.44. Kenya would settled for silver at the Games in the 4x400m Relays in 3:03.84.

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