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Were to leverage his World Championship experience in Paris

Last August at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Were bowed out in the semi-final two, finishing sixth with a time of 49.40.

In Summary

• The men’s 400m hurdles kicks off on August 5, with the repechage round the following day. Semi-finals are set for August 7, and the final will take place on August 9.

• Were also aims to lower his personal best from 48.52 – set last year at the national championships – to 47 seconds.

Wiseman Were during a training session at the Moi stadium Kasarani on July 1, 2024
Wiseman Were during a training session at the Moi stadium Kasarani on July 1, 2024
Image: TEDDY MULEI

Former national 400m hurdles champion Wiseman Were will be seeking to leverage his World Championships experience as he eyes a spot in the final at the Paris Olympics.

Were bowed out of the World Championships in the semi-final stage after finishing sixth in 49.40 last year.

The Kenya Defence Forces athlete cited a lack of competition as a key factor in his performance.

“During the World Championships, I got eliminated in the semi-final. I made some minor mistakes and my concentration levels were a bit down. The hurdles race is very demanding and you have to be at your best,” Were highlighted.

Now in prime condition, Were says he is ready for the challenge on the global stage.

“The first and second rounds are always the toughest as everyone is aiming for the finals. I’ve learned invaluable lessons from Budapest and I know I’ll give my best to secure a slot in the finals,” he emphasized.

The men’s 400m hurdles kicks off on August 5, with the repechage round the following day. Semi-finals are set for August 7, and the final will take place on August 9.

The 26-year-old draws inspiration from Olympic champion Karsten Warholm and World bronze medallist Rai Benjamin.

“I’ve been studying Warholm and Benjamin’s techniques. How they clear the hurdles and their build-up to each race,” he said.

He believes competing against them at the Stade de France will propel him to achieve more.

“Competing alongside athletes I look up to will push me to new levels,” he stated.

Were also aims to lower his personal best from 48.52  set last year at the national championships to 47 seconds.

“I started running 52 seconds, then dropped to 51 then dropped to 49. Right now, I am running 48 seconds. It has been quite a challenge and a journey reaching where I am at the moment,” he stated.

“My target in Paris is to clock 47 seconds. I am sure competing with the very best athletes in the world will push me to lower my time,” he added.

He said his previous medals and results will motivate him at the global show. “My previous medals and performances will motivate me a lot in Paris.”

Were won a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in the 4x400m  after clocking 3:02.41 alongside Mike Mokamba, William Rayian and Boniface Mweresa.

Last year, Were won bronze at the Botswana Grand Prix in a time of 49.29 behind South Africa’s Sokwakhana Zazini ( 48.58 ) and USA’s Trevor Bassit ( 48.43 ). He also won the ASA Grand Prix title in Pretoria SA, last year,  clocking 49.23.

Were has been training at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani alongside fellow sprinters Ferdinand Omanyala (100m) and Zablon Ekwam (400m). His focus at the moment is getting clearance over the hurdles right.

“I am focusing on my clearance at the moment. I want to get it right before the Olympics. Every other aspect of my race is okay,” Were highlighted.

Under the guidance of coach Dennis Mwanzo, Were revealed that his basic training regiment consists of four training days a week.

“I train four days a week; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday are my recovery days. I do two days of hurdle training and the other two days are basically for speed endurance,” he noted.

Were plans to compete in a few races before the Olympics to maintain peak condition. “My management is working on setting up some races for me before the Olympics to keep my body in check,” he added.