Kenya will be seeking to surpass the superlative showing they had at the last edition of World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, when they compete in Oregon for the same competition which gets underway in the United States on Friday.
The African athletics powerhouse finished second with 11 medals — five gold, 2 silver and four bronze behind the United States and Jamaica.
Kenya is sending a contingent of 46 athletes to the event scheduled for July 15–24 at the reimagined Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, Eugene, in USA where it takes place for the first time ever.
Good morning from Oregon! 😍👋🏼
Just popping in for training as Team Kenya preps to bag medals 🇰🇪
Sleep well back home, we’ve got a Championship to win from tomorrow ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Ih2yUGVcAr
— TeamKenya (@OlympicsKe) July 14, 2022
Reigning Olympic 1500m champion Faith Chengétich,World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, the 2016 Rio Olympics javelin silver medalist Julius Yego and Africa’s fastest 100 meters runner Ferdinand Omanyala are some of the big names that will be relied upon to provide leadership.
Yego and sprints sensation Omanyala were picked as captain and assistant captain respectively in a contingent of 46 athletes being spearheaded by head coach John Mwithiga, popularly known as ‘warm-up’,alongside Bernard Ouma.
The 26 year old who was among six Team Kenya members for whom visa hold-ups had put in doubt their participation in the event finally traveled after government intervention and is set to take part.
KBC Digital can authoritatively report that Athletics Kenya executive member Barnabas Korir is holding talks with World Athletics about the possibility of staging a solo heat if Omanyala does not arrive on time.
He set the African men’s 100m record of 9.77 seconds at Nairobi in September 2021 and stands third in this year’s world lists with 9.85 beating Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Fred Kerley.
All Kenya’s five champions from Doha in 2019 will be seeking title defense in a championship set to be televised live on the state broadcaster KBC Channel 1.
They are Beatrice Chepkoech in the 3000m steeplechase, marathoner Ruth Chepngetich, Timothy Cheruiyot will be aiming for back-to-back gold medal in 1500m, Conseslus Kipruto, who is discovering his form in steeplechase and Hellen Obiri, who has opted to concentrate on 10000m . She will not be defending her 5000m title.
Others on the watch out are debutants world junior champion Wycliffe Kinyamal and Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir who might officially announce themselves to the world as 800m record holder David Rudisha’s heir.
Abel Kipsang who won the 1,500m race at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi and the trials where he pipped world champion Timothy Cheruiyot on his way to victory is another gold medalist prospect in Oregon having stunned the world last year when he set a new Olympic record of 3:31.65 when winning the semi-finals at the delayed Tokyo Summer Games.