Champ Manangoi expresses concern over Kenya’s dwindling track prowess


Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi celebrates winning the final of the men's 1500m athletics event at ...
(FILE)Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi celebrates winning the final of the men's 1500m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS

In Summary

  • The first batch of Team Kenya jetted back to the country this morning with newly crowned Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi leading the triumphant team.
  • Manangoi, who is the World champion in the distance, led compatriot Cheruiyout to a 1-2 finish in the 1,500m, stopping the clock in three minutes, 34.78 seconds in Gold Coast on Saturday, bagging one of the four gold medals won by Team Kenya in the competition.

The first batch of Team Kenya jetted back to the country this morning with newly crowned Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi leading the triumphant team.

Also in the delegation was 1,500m silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot, and 3,000 women steeplechase bronze medallist Purity Kirui.

The trio touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi this morning to a heroic reception from family, friends and fans.

Manangoi, who is the World champion in the distance, led compatriot Cheruiyout to a 1-2 finish in the 1,500m, stopping the clock in three minutes, 34.78 seconds in Gold Coast on Saturday, bagging one of the four gold medals won by Team Kenya in the competition.

Speaking upon arrival, Manangoi expressed confidence of cruising to more glory this season in his specialty, with his focus shifting to the Diamond League.

“It wasn’t easy to win the race in Gold Coast. This championship is anyone’s race. I am so happy I came home with a gold medal. At the beginning of the season my focus was the Commonwealth Games,” Manangoi said.

Kenya’s contingent to the 21st edition of Commonwealth Games that concluded yesterday in Gold Coast, Australia, returned to a not so golden catch following their dismal performance.

Uganda’s Timothy Toroitich and Kenya’s Rodgers Kwemoi compete in the athletics men's 10,000m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN

In 2010 in New Delhi, India, Kenya bagged 33 medals; 12gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze, while in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014, Kenya lowered the graph to 25medals; 10 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze.

As the team captain, Manangoi expressed his concern about the low performance in Gold Coast.

“We have never come across a competitive race like this before. We did our best .The race was generally competitive. Our opponents from other countries were very much aggressive and our team was not such strong.  We have to put in more effort for the next races. We also need more support from the government, “Manangoi charged.

Team Kenya yielded just four gold medals, seven silver and six bronze, a significant drop from their endeavors in Delhi, India and Glasgow, Scotland.

As such, the athletes, who now still have just between three-to-four weeks until the start of IAAF Diamond League and World Challenge, hurried to be in shape for Commonwealth competition.

Owing to this packed calendar, a number of big names from the rest of Commonwealth participating nations, like Kenya, skipped the event.

The rise of Uganda as a distance-running nation and the Caster Semenya factor also robbed Kenya of medals, which would otherwise belong to Kenya.

Kenya won both the women’s 800m and 1,500m in Glasgow four years ago but the controversial South African was too powerful for Margaret Nyairera in the two laps and Beatrice Chepkoech in a mile.

Three gold medals that have traditionally been Kenya’s went to Uganda’s Stella Chesang and Joshua Cheptegei who performed an astonishing smash and grab. The disastrous performance in Gold Coast ought to be a wake up call to Kenya’s weakening dominance in athletics.

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Story By Carol Kones
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