The IAAF Diamond League meetings are a welcome distraction for Team Kenya as they enter the home-straight in training ahead of the 2018 Africa Senior Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.
While taking the sprinters through the paces, head coach Stephen Mwaniki said the series has seen athletes leave camp thus affecting his training programme, even though they could have been good competitions for them to gauge themselves.
The team reported to camp on July 8 but they have had some of their senior athletes take part at the Rabat, Paris and London meetings. They include the 800m sextet of Emily Cherotich, Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emmanuel Korir, Jonathan Kitilit and Ferguson Rotich; 1,500m quartet of Timothy Cheruiyot, Charles Simotwo, Elijah Manangoi and Winny Chebet and the 3,000m steeplechase quintet of Conseslus Kipruto, Amos Kirui, Kennedy Njiru, Beatrice Chepkoech and Celliphine Chespol.
Mwaniki observed that even though the athletes were permitted to travel, their absence has affected his consistency in training and strive for cohesiveness within the ranks.
“The greatest challenge in camp has come from senior athletes who have been breaking camp for the Diamond League meetings . This has inconvenienced our teamwork although I am happy most of them have returned as agreed.”
However, Mwaniki observed that going by the results the said athletes have been chalking up in their assignments abroad, he expected the team to be hard nut to crack come next week.
He said their main focus is to surpass their performances from Durban, South Africa, two year ago. Individually, athletes will be seeking chances to represent the country at the World Cup.
“We want to surpass the medal tally we had in Durban two years ago. Our main focus is winning more many gold medals which will boost our chances of topping the medal table. We have prepared well for the past three weeks and we expect to perform better,” said Mwaniki.
He said he expects the challenge to come mainly come from South Africa and Nigeria and some a few West African countries who have performed well in the Diamond League meetings.
“Getting medals nowadays is a challenge but we have trained our athletes to counter such challenges. The athletes are aware that winning gold medals will guarantee them a place in the World Cup and that will help in achieving our target,” he added. The team is set to depart on July 30.