•National 100m record holder Mark Otieno says he is buoyed by their silver medal in the 4x200m
•The quartet finished second behind Germany and ahead of Portugal during the World Relay Championships in Silesia, Poland.
•Otieno's next focus is on the Senior African Athletics Championships in Algeria next month.
National 100m record holder Mark Otieno says their silver medal in the 4x200m at Sunday night's World Relay Championships in Silesia, Poland has motivated him to work hard for a place at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The sprinter believes Kenya's best-ever performance at the World Relays is a sign that the work put in developing the short distance races is paying dividends.
"My plan is simply to qualify for the final of the sprints in Tokyo. Looking at my training, I really feel this is possible and something good is about to happen this year. The first target is to excel at the African Championships in Algiers and from there qualify for Tokyo," Otieno said.
Otieno — alongside Mike Mokamba, Hesbon Ochieng and Elijah Matthew — clocked 1:24.26 behind winners Germany (1:22.43) and third-placed Portugal (1:24.53).
As the leadoff of the team, he started strongly, racing into the lead before handing over the baton to Mokamba, in a race in which Poland and Denmark were disqualified for dropping the baton during the change-over.
Otieno said the burden of expectations was heavy on his mind as he began the race.
"Yes, it is so much pressure to be the leadoff because you set the tempo for the rest of the team and have to ensure your teammate receives the baton in a good position. I knew we were going for a medal and so I had to do my part as was the case for Mike, Hesbon and Elijah," he said.
Otieno, who set a national record of 10.11 for 100m in Zambia last month, was part of the team, which participated at the 2019 edition in Yokohama, Japan.
In the Japanese city, the quartet finished fourth in the 4x200m behind United States, South Africa and Germany in first, second and third respectively.
"It's quite an honour to win silver this time round considering we came fourth at the last edition in Yokohama. We had wanted to win a medal and I am happy we met our target. It shows all our hard work in sprints is paying off and Kenya is now receiving recognition as a sprinters' country despite us specialising in the long distance races," Otieno said.
Apart from 4x200m, Kenya clinched a silver medal in the 2x2x400m mixed relay and bronze in the mixed shuttle hurdles relay.