Kenya’s Raymond Kibet, a chemical engineering student at Tulane University in New Orleans, USA, will be a man on a mission at the World Championships slated for August 4 to 13 in London.
Kibet, who clocked a personal best 45.21 seconds two months ago in the USA to qualify for the World Championships men’s 400m, and won the Kenyan trials, will be targeting a sub 44 seconds in London, which should put him in the final.
“ I had a good season in 20, took a slump in 2016 but I am glad to be back strong,” said Kibet, who now has a planned programme for the next two years with his focus on winning gold at 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Even though Nicholas Bett won the World 400m hurdles title in 2015 Beijing and Boniface Mucheru silver in 400m hurdles at Rio Olympic Games, Kibet reckons that sprinters are not getting the attention they deserve in the country.
He now feels that excelling in 400m in London will draw Kenyans’ attention to the short races and perhaps appreciation that plenty of talents lies in the country.
Also in Team Kenya’s 400m men’s side are National champion Collins Omae and African Games 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa.
“I want Kenyans to know that the country too has quality and talented sprinters,” said Kibet adding that the performance of Kenyan sprinters at the just ended World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi was a case in point.
Moitalel Mpoke and Mary Moraa claimed silver medals for Kenya in boys’ 400m hurdles and girls’ 400m respectively.
“This shows what Kenya can do if more attention is given to sprints in terms of equipment and quality coaching,” said Kibet.
He said that it’s his move to the USA where he is studying after the Rio Olympics that greatly improved his game.
Kibet, 21, said lack of proper coaching and equipment while in Kenya in addition to lack of exposure was his main undoing until he met coach Eric Peterson in Louisiana, USA.
“I was weak off the blocks, I didn’t know how to load towards competition and I lacked exposure and a good coach,” said Kibet, who draws his inspiration from world champion Bett.
“I have improved greatly in the last one year where I have competed frequently besides being introduced to the gym by Peterson.”