The Africa Championships in Athletics gets under way in Marrakech on Sunday with Kenyan runners eyeing glory in the men’s 10,000m final.
The country will be hoping to improve on their medal tally and reclaim the overall title they lost to Nigeria at the 2012 Championships in Benin.
Kenya hauled 27 medals; nine gold, nine silver and nine bronze as Nigeria got 10-6-5 from Benin.
Kenya expects its first medals not only in men’s 10,000m final but also women’s hammer throw final.
Will the Commonwealth Games silver medallist Josphat Bett Kipkoech and company stop Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro when men’s 10,000m final his held in the Moroccan city on Sunday?
That is the question Bett, Peter Kirui and Charles Cheruiyot will answer when they line up against Kipsiro in an event where Kenya swept the podium during the previous championships held 2012 in Port Novo, Benin.
The final starts at 9.25pm Kenyan time.
CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD TIME
Kenneth Kipkemoi clocked a championship record time of 27:19.74 to triumph as he guided Mark Kiptoo (27:20.77) and Lewis Mosoti (27:22.54) to a podium sweep.
It’s Kipsiro, who broke Kenyan hearts at the line when he sneaked in on the inside to put his chest forward to win in 27:56.11 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Bett got silver in a personal best time of 27:56.14. Kirui and Cheruiyot came home fourth and fifth in 27:58.24 (season best) and 27:59.91 (personal best) respectively.
Levins Cameroon from Canada, who kicked early to puncture Kenya’s strategy in the race, snatched bronze.
“It will be a different game in Morocco,” vowed Kirui upon leaving for Marrakesh. “Cameroon ruined our strategy in Glasgow when he kicked early forcing us to follow him and he looked strong. We also didn’t see Kipsiro sneaking in at the far end.”
Kirui said his reaction wasn’t good since he should have reduced the pace at the front when Cheruiyot failed to take cue. “We have talked about it and we shall rectify the mistake heading to Morocco for the Africa Championships,” Kirui.
FOCUS ON OSESO
The focus will be on Linda Oseso, who reached women’s hammer throw finals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Oseso has her eyes fixed on reaching the medal bracket in women’s finals at 9.40pm.
With the 2010 champion David Rudisha missing action, the onus is now on Ferguson Rotich and Evans Kipkorir to erase their poor show in Glasgow with a good show in men’s 800m first round.
Rudisha settled for silver, losing the battle to Nijel Amos at the Commonwealth Games. Amos will also be in action.
Tera Lagat, who reached the finals in Glasgow to settle for 11th, Elijah Kimitei and Kiplangat Ruto will be in action in men’s long jump qualification.
Kenyan athletes will also feature in both men and women’s 100m, and 400m first round and men’s 400m hurdles first round.
The 2012 Africa 400m hurdles bronze medallist Boniface Mucheru will also feature.