Bett optimistic as second Team Kenya group departs


World Champion, Nicholas Bett, takes a selfie before they departed for the Rio 2016 Games on ...
World Champion, Nicholas Bett, takes a selfie before they departed for the Rio 2016 Games on Sunday, July 31, 2016. PHOTO/Courtesy/Facebook

The second batch of Team Kenya departed for the Rio 2016 Summer Games in Brazil on Sunday morning in a low key event.

The group included eight sprinters who will be joined by their coaches on August 7 when the third quota leaves in a peculiar travelling arrangement by the National Olympics Committee of Kenya and three race walkers.

Unlike the fanfare that greeted the departure of Team Kenya for London 2012, most of the athletes drove themselves to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with no official ceremony.

World 400m Hurdles champion, Nicholas Bett, who will be teaming up with African titleholder Boniface Mucheru and his twin brother and African bronze medalist Aaron Koech, is confident and not worried about the dreaded hot weather in Rio.

“We are well prepared and now it’s a matter of clearing the hurdles skillfully.

“We have been tested more than twice while in camp. The world will know Kenya sent a clean team to Rio and are relying on pure talent and training from their coaches,” the Beijing 2015 and first Kenyan sprint event winner at the Worlds enthused.

“For those trying to get rich using short cuts should know the side effects using banned substances are very unforgiving. There’s a reason why they are banned and should remain that way,” Bett who has struggled for top form this season added.

Race walkers could not hide the joy for making the Olympics trip with six-time African champion and record holder; Grace Wanjiru and men’s African Champion Samuel Gathimba and Simon Muriithi Wachira making the team to Brazil.

“I’m not sure of what to say. My dream to compete at the Olympics Games is finally here. Have tried several times before to make Team Kenya but I never impressed the selectors but I never lost hope.

“I’m going to make good of the opportunity and bring a gold,” said Wanjiru the African queen of race walking who will be making her belated Olympics debut.

Alphas Kishoyan admitted they will miss men’s 4x400m men’s relay quartet as well as African High jump men’s champion Mathew Sawe; who were axed from team.

“We had prepared well for the relay. It affected us since we knew two would be dropped from the team.  We like training together and the chemistry was right. We were sure of a medal.

“I wish Sawe would be given a chance because in Durban he braved the cold weather and brought a medal. He has a lot of potential,” Kishoiyan rued.

-Official welcome-

Team Kenya members during the hoisting of the country's flag at the Olympics Village in Rio de Janeiro. PHOTO/Courtesy
Team Kenya members during the hoisting of the country’s flag at the Olympics Village in Rio de Janeiro. PHOTO/Courtesy

Meanwhile, reports Michael Bowen, Kenya was officially welcomed to Rio 2016 by Brazilian officials with the country’s flag hoisted at the Olympics Village on Saturday.

“This welcome ceremony is a key date function for every country as per the Olympic Games rules and regulations,” media liaison officer, Peter Angwenyi, told Chamgei FM from Rio.

Kenya’s Ambassador in Brazil Isaac John Ochieng was among those who welcomed the team at the Olympic village as the country formally took her place in the biggest sporting spectacle on earth.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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