Former 400m commonwealth champion Mark Mutai is hopeful of winning gold medal when he debuts the fifth edition of the World Masters Athletics Championships set for September 6-16 in Malaga, Spain.
Mutai,40, is set to represent Kenya in the 400 and 200m races besides skippering the team in their bid to surpass the past edition’s medal tally of 10.
The sprinter, who was part of the Kenyan 4x400m team that scooped gold in the 2010 Africa Championships, expressed his gratitude for making a return to competitive racing after retiring in 2016. “I have been training for the championships and I am eyeing gold. I am elated to make my maiden appearance at the masters level and more honoured to be selected as the Team Kenya’s skipper as well as making a return in representing my country overseas. As a unit, we are looking forward to surpass the last edition’s medal tally achieved in Australia 2016.”
The team comprises of 29 athletes—14 more than those who were summoned for the fourth edition held in Australia two years ago. The team will be seeking to surpass the medal tally realised in Australia, where they won three gold, four silver and three bronze medals. The athletes, who are aged over 35years, are set to depart on September 4.
Speaking while flagging off the veterans, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Hassan Noor, urged the athletes to emulate the prowess harboured by the Kenyan team that emerged top in the recently concluded African Athletics Championships. “I call upon our athletes to try their best and replicate the achievement realised by their youthful counterparts in Nigeria. The ministry is committed in supporting the team and we are in touch with the Kenyan ambassador in Spain to ensure the regrettable reception offered to the Kenyan team in Nigeria does not re-merge.”
Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei thanked the ministry for catering for air tickets and challenged the retired runners to gun for medals. “I thank the government for purchasing air tickets for the team and I urge our athletes to give their best and bring home as many medals as they can.”