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Uhuru hands over flag to Team Kenya on Friday

Thursday July 21 2016

World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng trains at University of Eldoret grounds on July 21, 2016. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng trains at University of Eldoret grounds on July 21, 2016. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

ELIAS MAKORI
By ELIAS MAKORI
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Kenya’s journey to the Olympic Games begins in earnest on Friday when President Uhuru Kenyatta hands over the national flag to Team Kenya at State House, Nairobi.

Kenya will be represented in track and field, boxing, judo, swimming, archery, sevens rugby (men and women) and weight lifting at the August 4-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The rugby teams have been training at the Nandi Bears Club in Nandi County with the track and field athletes pitching camp in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, and marathon runners in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

The boxing team recently shifted its base to Nakuru’s Madison Square Garden while the archery, judo and weightlifting Olympians are all in Nairobi.

The rugby teams wound up their training under head coach Benjamin Ayimba on Tuesday and relocated to Nairobi.

on Thursday, track and field team manager Michael Rotich said the athletes will fly to Nairobi Friday morning to get the President’s blessings before flying back to Eldoret to continue with their training at the High Performance Training Centre.

However, the sprinters in the team will join the rugby squads on the first flight out to Rio on Sunday via Luanda, Angola.

The rest of the squads will depart on July 31 and August 7.

However, Kenya will not feature in the 4x400 metres relay as the quartet fell short of the Olympic qualifying standard.

“We have received communication from the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) through Athletics Kenya that Kenya will not compete in the relay as we did not meet the qualification standards. This is now beyond us,” Rotich said on Thursday at the team’s morning training session at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

“However, our sprinters will run in the 400 metres flat,” he added. Consequently, Alphas Kishoyan, Raymond Kibet and Alex Sampao will run in the one-lap race. Boniface Mweresa and Kiprono Koskei were the other members of the relay squad.

Since Kenya won gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics, no African nation has won the 4x400m relay race. Kenya had bagged silver in Mexico four years earlier.

NKANATA IN THE US

The gold medal-winning quartet was Charles Asati, Hezekiah Nyamao, Julius Sang and Robert Ouko. Other sprinters in the Kenyan squad are Mike Mokamba and US-based Carvin Nkanata who will run in the 200 metres.

Nkanata is currently training at his base in the USA. Kenya will also be represented in the 400 metres hurdles by world champion Nicholas Bett, his brother Haron Koech and Boniface Mucheru.

Some members of Team Kenya will be in action on Friday and Saturday at the London Anniversary Games, a leg of the IAAF Diamond League Series.

They include Isaiah Kiplagat Koech who will run in the 5,000m and 800m man Ferguson Rotich.

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