• “We have two main targets. One is to improve on the performance from 2017, targeting at least 20 medals and the second is to try and break several records,” said Kibet.
•The team of 46 ( 28 men and 18 women) has been camping at Moi Stadium, Kasarani since April 4.
National Deaflympics athletics head coach Samuel Kibet is confident Team Kenya will surpass their medal haul from the 2017 edition when they compete at this year's event in Brazil.
Five years ago in Samsun, Turkey, Kenya won 16 medals including five gold, five silver and six bronze.
However, Kibet said they have their eyes trained on furthering these figures while also targeting to lower several world records when they invade Caxias Do Sul in Southern Brazil between May 1 and 15.
“We have two main targets. One is to improve on the performance from 2017, targeting at least 20 medals and the second is to try and break several records,” said Kibet.
The team of 46 ( 28 men and 18 women) has been camping at Moi Stadium, Kasarani since April 4.
“We have selected a strong track and field team for the Summer Olympics. They have improved a lot since we started training. We want to ensure that they maintain top shape ahead of departure to Brazil,” adds Kibet, who has been with the team since 2013.
He backed Simon Kibai (5,000 and 10, 000m), Lucas Wandia (3, 000m steeplechase), Daniel Kiptum (marathon) and John Koech (1, 500m) to lower their records.
“Remember old is gold and, obviously, we have high hopes in the experienced athletes, whom we expect to lead from the front. I want to believe that the young athletes are following in their steps. Our assessment in training indicates that all of them have generally improved,” said the coach.
“The 200m junior world record holder Beryl Wamira is also capable of breaking the seniors' record.”
The coach also backed sprinters to bag medals during the 15-day championships.
“Our sprint coaches are doing a good job. 18 of these athletes are sprinters and this gives us hope and confidence that we are doing well in the sprints among the deaf. We want to believe that they will perform exemplary this time round,” concluded the coach.
Wamira, who is in Team Kenya alongside siblings Rael and David, echoed Kibet's sentiments, saying: “We are ready, especially the women’s team and I know we will do well. We all have individual goals but, collectively, we are targeting as many gold medals as possible.”
Wamira, who has been the women’s captain since 2012, says that despite carrying a long-term hip injury, she is confident of a podium finish.
“We also have representatives in javelin, hammer, high jump and discus,” added Kibet.
The team is scheduled to leave for Brazil this week. The first batch of Team Kenya arrived in Brazil on Tuesday evening.