PLANS AFOOT

No time to rest for selected Olympics athletes, says Kirwa

National athletics head coach Julius Kirwa with the Olympics barely four weeks away, the team will head to residential training camp immediately after the trials.

In Summary

•Kirwa said just like the rest of the sporting fraternity, athletics has not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has in return seen athletes stay out of action due to the various containment measures, both locally and abroad.

•"We need to come up with a strategy. Most of our athletes in those events have not run this year and so we have to come up with something (plan)," observed Kirwa.

Alice Aprot, Qualyne Kiprop, Irene Kamais and Monica Chirchir lead the pack in 10000m race during the All Africa Games trials at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
Athletics Alice Aprot, Qualyne Kiprop, Irene Kamais and Monica Chirchir lead the pack in 10000m race during the All Africa Games trials at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
Image: /ERICK BARASA

There will be no time to rest for Team Kenya athletes selected at the end of the three-day national Tokyo Olympic Games trials set for between Thursday and Saturday at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.

National athletics head coach Julius Kirwa with the Olympics barely four weeks away, the team will head to residential training camp immediately after the trials.

"Time is not on our side. Apart from the Kenya Defence Forces, who held their championships, the rest — Kenya Prisons and Kenya Police — did not compete so we need to see them competing against the best and hopefully have some more athletes qualify for Tokyo,” said Kirwa.

Kirwa said once in camp, training will be intense to give the athletes the best possible preparation geared towards winning medals.

“It will be three weeks of intense training. We want the athletes to be in the best possible shape by the time the Games begin," added Kirwa.

The athletics program in Tokyo starts on July 30.

Kirwa said just like the rest of the sporting fraternity, athletics has not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has in return seen athletes stay out of action due to the various containment measures, both locally and abroad.

"This (the trials) is a golden opportunity for those who are yet to qualify to attain the require standards," added Kirwa.

He added that the entry of Ugandan and Tanzanian athletes will be a big boost to Kenyan athletes competing in the three-day event.

"Their entry will spice up proceedings. We know Uganda have very good athletes and will challenge our athletes especially in the middle and long-distance races," said Kirwa.

And to stem Kenya's past struggle in the 5,000m and 10,000m races, Kirwa said the various coaches will sit down with the selected athletes in the disciplines to formulate plans for execution in Japan.

"We need to come up with a strategy. Most of our athletes in those events have not run this year and so we have to come up with something (plan)," observed Kirwa.

However, Kirwa was non-committal on Kenya's chance at the Olympics, not until the team is named on Saturday.

“I cannot start giving you a prediction for the Games — until we pick the team and start training and see the athletes' level of preparedness,” Kirwa concluded.