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Team Kenya draw up battle lines

Wednesday August 24 2011

Mohamed Amin | NATION Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat trains at the Moi international Sports Centre Kasarani on August 09, 2011 in preparation for the World Championships in to be held in Daegu, South Korea from August 27 to September 4.

Mohamed Amin | NATION Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat trains at the Moi international Sports Centre Kasarani on August 09, 2011 in preparation for the World Championships in to be held in Daegu, South Korea from August 27 to September 4. 

By ELIAS MAKORI in DAEGU, South Korea

After their long and winding trip from Nairobi that took them well over 24 hours, Kenyan athletes held their first light training session here Wednesday morning to shake off the serious jet-lag.

The team’s head of delegation, Peter Pamba, said all was well and despite the fatigue, the entire squad was upbeat, looking forward to today’s full sessions on the Daegu Athletes’ Village track.

“We arrived safely, we were welcomed very well and the team is happy with the facilities here – they are all in good shape,” the Administration Police officer said.

Given the long travel here, we journalists courteously spared the Kenyan team what can sometimes be nagging interviews upon arrival.  

The Kenyan embassy here too did very well, with ambassador Ngovi Kitau meeting them at their plane on Seoul’s Incheon Airport tarmac before helping them through immigration and onto two waiting buses for the four-hour journey from the airport to Daegu.

A Korean official working at the Kenyan embassy, Heena Suh, has been attached to the team in Daegu and has tirelessly sought to make sure the delegation - that includes World Athlete of the Year, David Rudisha - is comfortable.

Obvious issues

If I were an athlete under similar circumstances, the last thing I would like to encounter is a journalist’s microphone shoved in front of my face after a close to two day’s journey, most often faced with irrelevant questions on obvious issues, like how is Daegu?

So it was left for Pamba to deal with the media, and his responses echoed the confidence in Team Kenya’s camp.

“We will have a team meeting after dinner (last night) and draw up the training programme,” Pamba added.  

The 77-strong Kenyan squad that has 48 athletes hit the pillows early last night and will begin serious training at 10am on Thursday with the women’s marathon and 10,000 metres races on Saturday the first finals of these championships.

Pamba later confirmed the 10am training. “The spirit is good and we are going out this time to take all the medals we line up to get,” he added.  

Anderson Mureta, who is in the 4x400 metres relay team, afforded a comment, saying he was impressed by the conditions here.  

“We trained well, there was a slight drizzle but this did not affect our workouts,” the national 200m champion said. “We expected a lot of heat in Daegu but the weather is just fine…”

The IAAF farcical elections obviously stole the show here yesterday with almost the entire Athletics Kenya executive holed up in the Expo Convention Centre in downtown Daegu following the proceedings and campaigning.

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