Kenya’s young 4x400m relay team is ready to rock at next month’s Moscow World Championships in Athletics before targeting the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro.
For Alphas Kishoyian and Boniface Mokamba, the Moscow championship will be special as they graduate to the senior level besides celebrating their 20th birthday in the month.
Kishoyian turns 20 on August 12, while Mokamba celebrates his birthday on August 28. Other members of the team are Boniface Mweresa, who turns 20 on November 13 and Moses Kertich, 27.
The 400m hurdlers Boniface Mucheru and Vincent Kosgei, who were part of the team, have been dropped. Kishoyian holds the fastest times in 400m that he posted during the nationals (45.50) and World trials (45.76).
They would also like to put behind the London Olympic Games mishap with a clean show at the championships that are due on August 10 to 18. The team was disqualified after Vincent Mumo tripped and fell in the qualification heat.
“It will be a nice start as I graduate to the senior level. My birthday comes that time and I hope to celebrate it in style with a medal in Moscow, God willing,” said a confident Kishoyian, who won 400m silver medal at the 2010 Youth Olympics and 2011 World Youth Championships respectively.
“We are a group of ambitious youngsters and with the right facilities and training in place, the future looks bright,” explained Kishoyian, who embraced athletics while in Form Two at Kiptere High School that has produced the likes of Winnie Chebet and Anthony Chemut.
Kishoyian regretted that Kenya could not produce a qualifier in the 400m flat owing to an electronic time failure during the nationals.
“We need to concentrate our energies on the relays now and hope for the best,” said Kishoyian.
Mweresa said running 3:02.00 at the national trials while the world leading time is 3:00.91 puts them in the finals at the Worlds and medal bracket.
“Our coaches are refining our techniques and skills besides reaction from the blocks,” said Mweresa. “I believe we can reach the final and manage a podium finish.”
Mokamba predicted that the 4x400m national record currently held by the 2010 Africa gold medal winning outfit of Vincent Kosgei, Anderson Mureta, Vincent Mumo and Mark Mutai will be broken.
Mokamba’s father Elkana Nyang’au was in the team that held the 4x100m record (39.47) set at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
It was broken in 2010 by Anderson Mureta, Simon Kimaru, Stephen Barasa and Kipkemoi Soy at the 2010 Africa Championships.
Mokamba said the team is capable of going all the way to the medal bracket. Kertich finished second behind Kishoyian at the trials in 46.12, followed by Mweresa (46.26).
Mweresa and Kertich have each clocked 46.0 this year.
“The team is strong with most of us covering the 400m under 45.50,” said Mokamba.
Kenya team sprints coach, Andrew Chepkwony is confident that the relay team will finish in the medal bracket.
“We have been polishing on skills and techniques besides calculation and reaction between the races.”