It’s been great year for Kenya in athletics

Thursday December 7 2017

Kenya's Mary Keitany celebrates after winning the women's elite race at the London marathon on April 23, 2017 in London. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |

Kenya's Mary Keitany celebrates after winning the women's elite race at the London marathon on April 23, 2017 in London. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |  AFP

By BARNABAS KORIR
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It’s that time of the year when we have to look back and take stock of our achievements and failures. As the year comes to a close, I must say there is a lot to be proud of as Kenyans in as far as athletics is concerned.

But first things first, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone, who had contributed towards making this year a success in athletics.

Who will forget how we raided Kololo Grounds in Kampala and took off with a number of titles in World Cross Country Championships? We may not have done well on the team front but at least we took the two most important titles - senior men and women’s.

Of course we played second fiddle to Ethiopia in both junior events and senior women but scored a perfect 10 in the senior men’s race. Kudos too to the relay team, led by Asbel Kiprop, for proving to the world that we are kings and queens of the middle distance races.

Coincidentally Africa cross country in Algeria will be one of our immediate events next year and we need to make amends and pick from where we left.

This means the junior runners should use the current series to prepare for the continental competition. After the World Cross Country Championships, the World Under-18 Championships were held at our backyard in Nairobi.

This one, we just killed it from the word go. We not only successfully host the event, but we also dominated it.

Who will forget the crowds at Kasarani Stadium, among them President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta? Even our international partners admitted that the event had the highest number of attendance in the history of the youth show.

Kudos to the Local Organising Committee and the Ministry of Sports officials who led from the front. Then came the World Championships in London last August and once again Kenyans did what they know best - win titles. We won five gold medals, two silver and four bronze, finishing second behind USA.

Kudos to Conseslus Kipruto (men’s 3,000m steeplechase), Hellen Obiri (women’s 5,000m), Geoffrey Kirui (men’s marathon), Faith Chepng’etich (women’s 1,500), and Elijah Manangoi (men’s 1,500m), who all settled for gold in their respective events.

I will not forget our athletes performances on the marathon circuit especially Eliud Kipchoge’s Breaking 2 race and his feat in Berlin, and Mary Keitany’s women only record in London Marathon.

But as we celebrate the year, let’s remember that this is now water under the bridge and we have to strategise for next season with Commonwealth Games the biggest event on the calendar for us. The secret is simple