Captain Julius Yego and deputy head coach Bernard Ouma have declared that Team Kenya is ready to conquer opponents in the World Championships in Doha.
Meanwhile, Team Kenya’s travel arrangements for the championship were altered the last minute on Monday, prompting the government to warn that tickets once issued will not be cancelled in future.
The team will now leave in batches for the world event that starts on Friday and will run till October 6 in Doha. The first lot of 19 athletes is expected to leave early Tuesday morning.
Team captain Yego had requested the Sports Ministry to change the departure date of some of the athletes to shield them from effects of adverse weather in Doha.
The whole of Team Kenya had been scheduled to leave for Doha Monday night with the exception of male marathoners, who had been scheduled to jet out on October 2, but this seems to have brought some discomfort in the team.
On Monday, Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia delivered the goods news when he paid the team a visit at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani to deliver their air tickets and allowances.
“The system of booking tickets and payment of allowances for national teams has changed and requests for tickets will be done 14 days in advance and once issued, tickets will not be cancelled,” Kaberia warned.
“We don’t want people to create storms when they are the ones failing.”
Kaberia said that Team Kenya allowances would be channelled to bank accounts of athletes and officials later Monday.
Also present were Athletics Kenya senior vice president Paul Mutwii, Chief Executive Officer Susan Kamau, treasurer David Miano and public relations officer Evans Bosire.
The teams that were to leave Monday night are women’s steeplechase, women’s marathon, women’s 10,000m, all 400m teams, all 800m teams and 400m hurdles athletes.
The next batch of the team leaves Tuesday night, followed by another on Friday. The last batch of the team comprising men’s marathon and 10,000m teams will leave on October 2. Yego and deputy head coach Ouma declared that team was ready to conquer the world in Doha.
“The team has been ready since the trials and what we have been doing is just motivation and checking areas of weaknesses to polish,” Ouma said. “We are giving them moral support and technical assistance and the talks are basically for psychological preparedness.”
Ouma did not predict how many medals Kenya is likely to win but assured the country that coaches are sending a strong team to Doha. “We are certain as far as preparation is concerned that we have done our best,” he said.
“Just like training, winning a medal is a process. It will start from the heats, semi-finals and then finals. It is too early to make predictions,” said Ouma.
Yego, the 2015 World javelin champion promised to lead from the front.
“The mood in camp has been ecstatic having seen a good blend of youth and experience,” said Yego, adding that it’s possible to replicate Kenya’s performance in the 2015 World Championships.
Kenya will be hoping to improve on get points tally from the 2017 World Championships in London, where the country won 11 medals comprising of five gold, two silver and four bronze to finish second in the medal standings.