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March 24, 2018

First batch of Kenya's track and field events leave for Rio on Sunday

Athletics - Rio 2016 Olympic Games  Women's 5,000 meter trials - Eldoret, Kenya  1/7/16.  REUTERS
Athletics - Rio 2016 Olympic Games Women's 5,000 meter trials - Eldoret, Kenya 1/7/16. REUTERS

The first batch of Kenya's track and field events to the 2016 Olympic Games leave on Sunday for the Rio extravaganza.

The contingent comprises mainly of sprinters including 400m hurdlers Nicholas Bett, Aron Koech, Boniface Mucheru and Maureen Jelagat.

400m trio of Raymond Kibet, Alphas Kishoyian and Alex Sampao are also in the party, alongside 200m speed-stars Mike Mokamba and Carvin Nkanata.

Walkers, African champions Samuel Gathimba and Grace Wanjiru as well as Simon Wachira will also make their trip tomorrow as they seek debuts in the world's greatest sporting event.

The group will be led by team manager Major (Rtd) Michael Rotich, coaches Nicholas Kilisio, Peninah Talam, Mike Rop and Mark Baraton.

Interestingly, steeplechase coach Boniface Tiren and his marathon counterpart John Mwithiga will leave with the group leaving behind their charges, set for an August 7 departure.

Mokamba, rated 60th in the world this year with a 20.38 performance in Nairobi in May, was upbeat as he awaits to make his first Olympics appearance.

“I am ready. I feel good. The hamstring that has been disturbing me is now gone. I will go there and go do the best I can.”

Jelagat, who will be making her second appearance in hurdles instead of the 400m she ran in London four years ago, said she feels she has done enough to warrant glory in Rio.

“I feel I am more experienced now,” said Jelagat, the African silver medallist over the distance.

“I have done enough of technical training and feel I have done right thing in training. My primary target will be to make the final and then battle for a podium finish.”

Rated 56th in the world with the 56.12 time she clocked while winning silver at Kings Park Stadium, Durban, South Africa last month, Jelagat observed that hurdling is a more technical event and by just doing the right things, the chances of success are high as opposed to the 400m race.

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