As the Commonwealth Games begin in Gold Coast, Australia, Wednesday, Kenya will be aiming to retain various titles it won in the 2014 edition in Glasgow.
For instance, in women’s 10,000 metres, Kenyans are under pressure to keep three medals won in 2014 when Joyce Jepkurui led her compatriots Florence Kiplagat and Emily Chebet in a clean sweep.
This year, eyes will be on Sandrafelis Chebet Tuwei, Stacy Ndiwa and Beatrice Chepkemoi Mutai in the 25-lap race. The three are expected to take full advantage of the absence of Ethiopian athletes who are known to offer Kenya stiff competition in the race.
Chebet who graduated to senior level this year said her training has gone well.
“The training sessions offered me a chance to review my performance over time and I will be looking forward to a good run in the race. It has been an injury-free training,” said the Londiani-based athlete who trains under coach Japheth Kemei said.
Chebet was in Kenya’s team for Africa Cross Country Championships in Algeria last month where she emerged sixth in the race.
“The course in the Africa Cross Country Championships was not good and I did not perform well, although it was part of my training for the Commonwealth Games,” said Chebet.
Mutai emphasised that teamwork will deliver good results for Kenyans in the race. She believes the absence of Ethiopians in the race should not be a reason for them to be complacent since other countries are working hard to beat Kenyans.
“We are going to run as a team in Gold Coast against our competitors. We will not lose sight of our goal, even with Ethiopian athletes missing, because other countries will be out to beat us,” Mutai, who trains in Nyahururu, said.
Mutai, who is elder sister to Olympics and World champion in 1,500m Faith Chepng’etich, is out to emulate her sister’s success in athletics.
“I want to perform well like my sister. I want to be in the medal bracket in my race,” said Mutai.
She has represented Kenya in various competitions, among them the World Cross Country Championships in 2013 in Poland where she emerged 10th in the senior category, and in 2014 Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala where she wound up seventh.
She was also in the Africa Cross Country Championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 2016 where she wound up third.