Africa high jump champion Matthew Sawe is not taking any chances in his plans to qualify for this year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
Sawe, 27, was disappointed after being dropped from Kenya’s team to last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero as he didn’t meet the qualifying height despite having been earlier assured of an Olympic ticket on the “affirmative rule” via the ‘B’ standard.
He now plans to move to Europe to be sure of the World Championships qualifying standard of 2.30m.
Sawe won the national title in 2015 with a new national record of 2.25 metres at Kasarani. He then won the Africa title at last year’s continental games in Durban, clearing a height of 2.21m.
The Africa champion has been training in his Eldoret base, mainly taking advantage of the altitude as the region doesn’t have field events facilities to write home about with no landing mattresses available.
Shifting his base to Europe this early under French coach Musa Fall will help Sawe since he will be exposed to good facilities unlike in Eldoret where he has been struggling with no high jump facilities.
“I just focused on loading and gym sessions for the last two months while I do the rest of the field work in France,” explained Sawe adding that coach Fall has been helpful with online training sessions.
He is planning to compete in several indoor championships in France, Czech Republic and Germany with a view of making it to London.
The IAAF World Indoor Tour Meeting in Karlsruhe on February 4 will be his first competition, followed by the Paris Indoor Meeting on February 8 and the Ostrava competition on February 14.
Sawe competed at the Ostrava event last year where he scaled 2.22m.
“It really hurt me after being told to continue training only to be left when the team travelled to Rio,” said Sawe, who evoked memories of world champion Julius Yego, who was exempted from the 2006 World Junior Championships despite having hit the qualifying mark in the javelin.
“Yego’s case has inspired me not to give up since he never gave and to silence his critics by winning the Africa, Commonwealth and World titles,” said Sawe. “Nevertheless, I drew a lot of positives from 2016 as one of the best season, having won the Africa title.”
“I improved a lot when I traveled to Europe last year…that is why I was able to win the African title.”