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Mwaniki backs Kenyan sprinters to shine in Doha

Wednesday September 4 2019

Kenya’s 18-year-old Vanice Kerubo Nyagisera on her way to winning the 400 metres hurdles gold medal at the African Games in Rabat on August 30, 2019. She became the first Kenyan female champion in the event at a major championship. PHOTO | PAUL OCHIENG |

Kenya’s 18-year-old Vanice Kerubo Nyagisera on her way to winning the 400 metres hurdles gold medal at the African Games in Rabat on August 30, 2019. She became the first Kenyan female champion in the event at a major championship. PHOTO | PAUL OCHIENG |  

GEOFFREY ANENE
By GEOFFREY ANENE
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Kenya can perform well in short races with more exposure to international competitions, according to veteran sprints coach Steven Mwaniki.

Kenya bagged two medals at last month's African Games in Morocco through 400 metres hurdles gold medallist Vanice Kerubo and women’s 4×100 metres relay team of Maxmilla Imali, Millicent Ndoro, Maureen Thomas and Eunice Kadogo who settled for bronze.

Before Kerubo won gold medal in Rabat, Kenya’s only medal in 400 metres hurdles at the African Games was silver courtesy of Rose Tata-Muya in 1987 edition held in Nairobi. The last time Kenya won a medal in Women’s 4x100m relay was the bronze-medal finish in 1973 African Games in Lagos, Nigeria.

Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as he welcomed Team Kenya from Morocco, Mwaniki said: “The performance is a result of good build-up from Penn Relays in Pennsylvania in April and World Relays in Yokohama. With more exposure, Kenya will go places."

Mwaniki disclosed that Kenya's 4x400 metres mixed relay team has already qualified for the World Athletics Championships slated for September 27 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar. The team of Jared Momanyi, Maureen Thomas, Hellen Syombua and Aron Koech made it to Doha after clinching bronze medal at the World Relays held in May in Japan.

“We are praying that by September 6 midnight, Kenya’s women 4x400m relay team will still be ranked 16th in the world. If that happens, we will also have this team in Doha. That good build-up also saw Hellen Syombua and Mary Moraa qualify for World Championships,” said Mwaniki.

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He added: “The business of sprinting is to run, not to wait for races. We are building sprinters to become world-class, so the Athletics Kenya calendar should always have early season for sprinters. We started training early and you can see the results.”

Kadogo was in the Penn Relays together with Diana Chebet, Joan Cherono and Fresha Mwangi where Kenya finished fifth behind sprints heavyweights Jamaica, Canada, USA and Guyana. 

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