D-day for Kenya in Gold Coast as medal prospect trio plunge into the 5,000m race
- The Commonwealth Games will 'officially' start on Sunday for track and field lovers with the men's 5,000m being the main show of the day.
- The 20km walk race men and women final and the men hammer throw final will curtain raise the 5,000m event. That notwithstanding Kenyans will ken follow the proceedings here in Gold Coast, Australia crossing their fingers with the hope for a rare medal in the two disciplines.
- World Under-18 3,000 m silver medalist Edward Zakayo and Africa10, 000m champion Nicholas Kipkorir will depend on Moncton World U-20 - 5,000m champion David Kiprotich Bett experience as they bid to post a 1,2,3 Kenyan finish at 4:40 pm (Kenyan time) in the 5,000m race.
The Commonwealth Games will ‘officially’ start on Sunday for track and field lovers with the men’s 5,000m being the main show of the day.
The 20km walk race men and women final and the men hammer throw final will curtain raise the 5,000m event. That notwithstanding, Kenyans will keenly follow the proceedings here in Gold Coast, Australia, crossing their fingers with the hope for a rare medal in the two disciplines.
World Under-18 3,000 m silver medalist Edward Zakayo and Africa10, 000m champion Nicholas Kipkorir will depend on Moncton World U-20 – 5,000m champion David Kiprotich Bett’s experience as they bid to claim a 1,2,3 Kenyan finish at 4:40 pm (Kenyan time) in the 5,000m race.
Though he did not finish within the medal bracket about two weeks ago during the 5th CAA Africa Cross Country Championships held in Chlef, Algeria, Zakayo told Citizen Digital here that his main focus will be to ensure that the Kenyan national anthem is sang after the 12 and-half- lap race.
“Competing in the cross country helped me a lot in terms of endurance which is needed very much on track,” he said. “Ever since the competitions began I’ve been working on a few things including speed. I was able to make a good recovery and I believe in my training programme as the day fast approaches.”
The 17-year Zakayo, a Form Four student who carried his books all the way to Australia, cited Ugandans led by World 10,000m Silver medallist Joshua Cheptigei as Kenya’s main threat but vowed not to relinquish the title.
Zakayo’s determination is echoed by Kipkorir who is hungry for his first senior title.
“We are going to approach the race as a team. Our coordination and cooperation will determine the type of results we will post. We have been training hard though the heat and sleep are a bit of challenge. I have hopes that I will be among the podium finishers. All I ask is my countrymen and women to remember us during their Sunday worship and ask God to be our guide,” Kipkorir, seeking divine intervention, said.
Meanwhile, Africa champions Grace Wanjiru and Samuel Gathimba alongside Samuel Wachira will carry the country’s medal hopes in the men and women 20km walk finals that will be held at the Currumbin Beachfront at 7:00 am and 9:15 am respectively.
“I believe in myself and we have prepared well for the Games. The Rio 2016 Olympics were a bit of a challenge. This time round I’m wiser and know how things go about in the international course. My main target is to finish within the medal bracket,” said Gathimba.
At 2pm, shortly after the walk finals, Kenya Defence Forces’ Dominic Abunda Ondigi will be making his debut in the men’s hammer with hopes of improving his personal best throw of 60m to 65m.
“I have been familiarizing myself with the facilities here. At home, I train without a cage but here you have to use one for safety measures. Hence have been trying to master some techniques and how to angle the hammer when it’s time to let go,” said the ever- jovial Aminga.
Sadly, in the men’s 400m, Kenyan competitors are down to two after 2013 World -18 bronze medallist Alexander Lerionka Sampao picked up a hamstring injury during training and was put on a ten-day rest with his training sessions now being supervised by a physiotherapist.
“I was really looking forward to competing in my first Commonwealth Games. I felt upset that my dream was cut short. However, I do understand that I got to withdraw from the race and nurse my injury if I want to compete in the future. I do wish my team mates all the best in their events and I would love to hear the National anthem being played in every final event Kenyans are competing in.
Team Kenya Diary (Kenyan Time)
7:00 am -Men 20km Walk Final
9:15 am- Women 20km walk Final
2:00 pm- Men’s Hammer Throw
3:47pm- men’s 400m heats
4:40pm- 5,000m men final.
-Wanja Charity Mapenzi is reporting from Gold Coast, Australia
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