US-based Kenyan sprinter Carvin Nkanata hopes to strike gold at the Shanghai Diamond League on Sunday.
Nkanata, who holds the world lead in 200m, will now beat the national 400m champion Maureen Jelagat to history books as the first Kenyan sprinter to participate in the Diamond League.
Jelagat had last week confirmed making her Diamond League debut with Rome on June 4 being the first of her four events, only for Nkanata to don his spikes for Shanghai.
Nkanata broke his own national 200m record for the third consecutive time at the NTC Pure Athletics Sprint Festival in Clermont Florida on April 18, posting a world leading mark of 20.14 seconds.
Nkata also broke his own national Kenyan Record of 20.17 seconds he set last year April in Tennessee, almost one year after setting another national record of 20.32 at the IC4A/ECAC Division I Championships in Princeton, USA.
“I am glad to compete in Shanghai as I prepare for the World Championships,” said Nkanata, who is glad in cruising to personal best and national record in April. The 2014 Africa 200m bronze medallist said being ahead of the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, gives him motivation. “It inspires me to work harder so I can keep my spot,” said Nkanata as he reflected on Kenya’s 4x200m disqualification at the World Relays.
“I wasn’t disappointed about a disqualification because it’s a part of the game,” explained Nkanata, who was in last year’s team that reached the final.
“We all had fun at the end of the day just getting the baton around and the experience was great.”
However, Nkanata, who turned 24 on May 9, advised Athletics Kenya (AK) to give more attention to sprints besides educating the local coaches on proper sprint mechanics and techniques.
“Having proper gymnasiums to develop strength and conditioning is paramount,” said Nkanata.
Nkanata partnered with the national 200m champion Collins Omae, Mike Mokamba and Pius Muiya at the World Relays where they were disqualified for exchanging the baton at the wrong zone.
“Just talking with the guys that I ran with, everyone is eager to sprint and learn new things,” said Nkanata. “I gave them the most pointers I could while I was there to help them out.”
Nkanata said that he is humbled that his little achievement is slowly inspiring Kenyan sprinters to work hard and aim for the best. “All the sprinters in Kenya are seeing me succeed so that just drives them more to become great and that shows that there is hope for Kenya sprints,” said Nkanata.
Nkanata warmed up for Shanghai on Saturday with a second place finish at the IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Kawasaki, Japan, clocking 20.50.