•Born in Eiti village, Sajiloni location in Kajiado County, Sampao said he had good deals with his management for the year including the Olympics Games.
•He said in the last two years, he has been working towards his switch to the two-lap race.
Kenya’s sprinter Alex Sampao has set a target of planting over 3,000 trees on the family land as a way of killing boredom during the current break prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sampao said the pandemic has rendered him immobile hence he wants to pre-occupy himself with tree planting besides nursing his father, who was involved in a grisly road accident three weeks ago.
“For now, I am just at home planting trees on my farm as I nurse my dad who was involved in a road accident three weeks ago. I combine all this with reading. However, it's rather tough for athletes because we have we got a lot to pay for but there are no races. This year is just a disaster,” said the International relations student at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
“It is about that time to focus on something different like tree planting to make my farm green again. This is the only way I can ensure my time is well spent otherwise, boredom will kill me,” said Sampao, who intends to fully switch from 400m to 800m ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
Born in Eiti village, Sajiloni location in Kajiado County, Sampao said he had good deals with his management for the year including the Olympics Games.
However, he admitted that things have changed for the worse and it is no difficult to plan or predict anything.
“If at all things will go back to normal, I will run 800m. But for now, I am at home with no plans this year considering the lockdown. I am basically indoors trying to make myself busy with tree planting,” said Sampaio.
He said in the last two years, he has been working towards his switch to the two-lap race.
“ I am currently getting the rhythm in the two-lap race and I have been doing well in the last two years on this project. Everything is on course and we can only hope that the transition will be perfect," he added.
He said coaches have for a long time advised him to move to the 800m but he decided to take his time.
“Coaches have in the past few years felt that my posture, running style and physique fits that of an 800m runner but I Ignored this for a long time. However, I fell in love with the event the first time I tried it and after several experiments and trials, I realised I can do well in both the 400m and 800m races,” he added. Sampao first ran the 800m in 2018, posting an impressive time of 1:46.
“This year, I began well during the Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi meeting and advanced to the final with less struggle, giving me the conviction that I can do it,” he said.
The former Kirobon High School student, under the tutelage of Barnabas Kitilit, is coached by Italian international Jahney Gidhiney, who also handled former Olympic 800m champion Wilfred Bungei, William Yiamboi and world 800m silver medallist, Amel Tuka of Turkey among others.
“I am currently in Ngong and the situation is tough. I am compelled to stay at home because I can't train much and again no gym is open. I train once a day just to maintain my weight and fitness,” he said.