Kenya Police Service’s Maximilla Imali on Saturday broke the 33-year 400m Kenyan record when she glided to victory as the National Athletics Championships ended at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Imali, who represented Kenya in 4x400m at the World Relays in May in Bahamas, cruised to victory in 51.18 seconds to erase Ruth Waithera’s time of 51.56 set during the 400m final at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Initially, Joyce Sakari had broken the national record twice in 2015 during the National Championships in 51.14 and the World Championships in 50.71 but the records were cancelled after she doped during the World Championships.
The time by Imali, who also made the final of the 800m at the 2014 World Under-20, was enough to see her qualify for the London World Championships due for August 4-13, having surpassed the 52.10 seconds mark.
Emali edged out compatriots and World Relays teammates Veronica Mutua and Jacinta Shikanda in 52.14 and 52.39 respectively. “It’s such a good feeling and I thank God for His blessings,” said Imali, who was arguably the best athlete during the National Championships, having won five events.
Imali will next week be heading to Spain where she will be targeting to clock sub-50 seconds before trying to strike the World Championships qualifying time of 2:01.00 in 800m. “I want to run sub-two minutes,” said Imali.
Imali’s training mate, Olympic 800m bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera, who won the national 400m title last year, and 2013 World 800m champion Eunice Sum are the only female athletes who have qualified in 800m for the World Championships.
WON TRIPLE JUMP EVENT
However, Imali is the only Kenyan woman who has so far qualified in 400m for the World Championships.
Before her 400m feat, Imali blasted to victory in women’s 100m race in 11.75 seconds, missing the National Record time of 11.47 held by Eunice Kadogo set during the 2015 Africa Games.
She outclassed Kenya Defence Forces’ duo of Roselyne Indimuli and Mary Tanui in 12.0 and 12.3 respectively.
She also won the triple jump and long jump national titles, scaling 12.90m and 6.90m before guiding Police to victory in 4x200m relays.
Imali embraced athletics at Moiben Primary School in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia County where she left in 2012 to join Sing’ore Girls.