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Kenya banks on Asaba heroics in Yokohama

Wednesday May 8 2019

Veronica Mutua sprints during a training session at the Nyayo National Stadium on May 6, 2019. She is part of the 4x400m team that will take part in the the World Relays Championships this weekend in Yokohama, Japan. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

Veronica Mutua sprints during a training session at the Nyayo National Stadium on May 6, 2019. She is part of the 4x400m team that will take part in the World Relays Championships this weekend in Yokohama, Japan. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Team Kenya captain Aron Koech hopes their heroics from the Africa Athletics Championships last year will spur his team to victory at the World Relay Championships set for this weekend in Yokohama, Japan.

Koech says they are determined to perform well and set qualification marks for several events at the World Athletics Championships slated for between September 28 and October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

“We are determined to carry the spirit from Asaba last year to Yokohama,” said Koech, who also captained Team Kenya at the continental championships in Asaba, Nigeria where the country claimed the overall title with 19 medals; 11 gold, six silver and two bronze.

“I am glad and I thank God that we have no injuries. The coaches have handled key areas in speed work, baton handling and starts, hence we are good to go,” said Koech, who will lead his team that departs today for Japan.

Koech noted that it was exciting and encouraging to have the women’s 4x400m team on board at the last minute.

“The inclusion of the women's 4x400m team has excited the Team Kenya camp,” said Koech. “We have really worked on major areas and we are good to go.”

Head coach Stephen Mwaniki said it is a great opportunity for the women's 4x400m team perform well and qualify.

Mwaniki said it is unfortunate that the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) failed to include the men's 4x400m team, despite them having attained the qualifying mark in winning the African title last year in Asaba, Nigeria clocking 3 minutes 0.92 seconds.

IAAF failed to ratify the time because the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba wasn't certified.

The women's 4x400m team includes Nthenya Musyoki, Maureen Thomas, Neviah Michira, Everngeline Makena and Veronica Mutua.

“Nevertheless, we are ready for the championships,” said Mwaniki, adding that they have been working on baton exchange and the starts.

“We must have good starters and our exchange must be smooth and within the designated areas. We have gone through the past events just to review our performances,” said Mwaniki.

Mwaniki said he will be keen to see how the 4x400m mixed relay team will perform in the event as it makes its debut at the World Relays.

“We must reach the final of this event and then decide on the colour of the medal we want,” said Mwaniki.

Aaron Koech, Hellen Syombua, Maureen Thomas, Alphas Kishoyian and Jared Momanyi form the 4x400m mixed relay team.

Kenya only won silver in the 4x800m at the 2017 World Relay Championships held in Bahamas. The 4x800m has since been replaced by the 2x2x400m event.

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