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Team Kenya to Aim For the Sky in Doha

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amb. Amina Mohammed flags of the Kenyan team at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amb. Amina Mohammed flags of the Kenyan team at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani. Photo/ Athletics Kenya

The 2019 World Athletics Championships are set to begin today in Doha, Qatar.

Team Kenya has had several hitches in its preparation for the annual event but they are now confident of putting up a good performance. Team Kenya will be making a 17th appearance seeking to increase gold medal tally that stands at 55.

Kenya’s medal haul is only bettered by US (156 gold). Germany has 36, Jamaica (32) and Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 28 gold medals.

The first batch of the Kenyan team left the country on Monday ahead of the Doha Championships. They traveled to the Asian Country amid doping allegations against them.

Clean Image Despite Doping Allegations

Kenya will be aiming to maintain a clean image in the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha. This is after there were reports that two athletes in the team recently ‘injected’ themselves with the banned Erythropoietin (EPO) substance.

These allegations are contained in ZDF, a German media publication which also claims to have video evidence of the male and female athletes implicated for consuming the substance.

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However, Athletics Kenya (AK) dared the broadcaster to prove the claims so as to enable it to take action against the accused. The Federation also stated that it is only the Anti-Doping Association of Kenya, ADAK, which carries out tests and not AK.

Kenya is considered to be among the global elites in athletics given its number of medals gathered throughout different competitions. For this reason, Kenyans will be glued on television sets to cheer on their heroes and heroines as they take on the world inside Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Kenyans watching from home will be hoping that AK presented a clean team that has been vetted and tested for doping to mantain the country’s image to the World. All eyes will be on Team Kenya after the recent doping allegations, which were not proved to be true.

AK said they had to sacrifice some of the athletes not because they doped, but for not complying with strict Athletics Integrity Unit regulations of honouring three out of competition and one in-competition tests to be able to participate at Doha games.

The Athletics governing federation had to field a maximum of three athletes for the Doha Championship because of the sacrifice. AK also gave up on fielding a female athlete in 800m because of issues relating to disorders of sex development. South Africa’s Caster Semenya will not be participating for the same reason.

Team Kenya’s Strength, Marathons

In this edition of the Doha IAAF Championship, marathons will be staged at night which might prove a challenge to Kenyan marathoners. However, Kenyans have hope in the marathon team as it boasts athletes who have proven themselves before.

Leading the women’s marathon team will be two-time World Champion Edna Kiplagat. The 41-year-old, who recently relocated to America with her family, will team with Dubai marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich and Visiline Jepkesho.

The men’s marathon team consists of defending champion Geoffrey Kirui, former Seoul Marathon champion Amos Kipruto, former Paris Marathon champion Paul Lonyangata and 2014 Toronto Marathon champion Laban Korir. The men’s marathon will be on October 5 while the women’s marathon are set to be staged tonight.

The women’s marathon will be Kenya’s first shot at a gold medal. It is every Kenyan’s hope that the team starts the campaign on a high.

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Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected]

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