Kenya has completed its team selection for the Montreal Olympic Games in July, after final trials at Kisumu near Nairobi over the weekend.
Kenya has completed its team selection for the Montreal Olympic Games in July, after final trials at Kisumu near Nairobi over the weekend. The athletes who qualified on the trial include: Kip Kurgat - men's 800 metres - Alice Adala - women's 100 and 200 metres - John Mwebi - men's 100 metres - and Charles Asati in the men's 400 metres.
SYNOPSIS: The final Olympic trial produced some fine running from Kurgat, who made sure of a place in the team with a time of 1.47 seconds. In second place was Dan Omwanza, who also qualified for the Olympic squad. Kenya has named 28 men and four women for Montreal in July. As always the Kenyans are regarded as a formidable force - and they are determined once more the show they can provide the dominant African competition in the games. Seven team members are already in the United States, warming up for Montreal - and sizing-up the competition they'll face from the Americans. However, some Kenyan observers fear that the team may take a beating at Montreal unless the government provides more funds for training and facilities. Otherwise, critics suggest, Kenya may lose its leading position. The point is made that the Kenyan team has neither a national coach nor a full time coach.
AT Kisumu, Alice Adala ran the women's 100 metres in a record Kenyan time of 11.4 seconds, which saw her qualify in the event for the Olympics. Meanwhile, government assistance for the team has become a major topic among the athletes and sports commentators.
East African champion John Mwebi won the men's 100 metres with a qualifying time of 10.2 seconds. He had already qualified for the 200 metres, and says he's confident and looking forward to Montreal.
Charles Asati qualified for the men's 400 metres with a time of 46.6 seconds. Tochi Mochache, in second place with a time of 46.9 seconds, also qualified for Montreal. Mochache was also selected for the 4 by 400 metres relay. However, the overall performances of the team did not appear to solve the anxieties of the critics. A typical comment, in the Sunday Nation newspaper, warned that Kenya lost heavily in long distance events at the recent Zanzibar championships. Kenya also lost in the field events - and the paper suggested performances by the women athletes were below par.
Even Alice Adala failed to meet the Olympic qualifying time in the women's 200 metres - although she won in a swift 23.6 seconds - a tenth of a second outside the qualifying mark. However, she had already qualified last August for the event, on the same track. In spite of the muted reaction from many Kenya supporters, the Kenyan Amateur Athletics Association said that the athletes gave a good account of themselves. It declared the team would produce an impressive show at Montreal.