Kenya squad to Tokyo bigger

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 21:54 |
A section of Team Kenya athletes for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games pose with a dummy cheque from Kenya Breweries Limited, which is part of their sponsorship, during a function on Tuesday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

National Olympic Committee of Kenya NOC-K President Paul Tergat has reminisced on the Sydney Games when he was denied gold by 0.09.

The track legend said the Games from the year 2000 when he settled for silver medal in the men’s 10,000m should encourage the current crop of athletes going to Tokyo to do better.

He says failing to Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie in that final ended up being his defining moment.

“It’s exactly 80 days to the men’s 10000m final in Tokyo. We have plenty of talent and expect surprises on July 30.

I urge the athletes we have to learn a thing or two from that race. I believe we can go a step further and end the long wait for gold in 10,000m,” he said.

The former world marathon record holder says proper timing is key is such races urging the young Kenyan athletes to keep learning.

“I broke off so early in that race, so the last 100m for me felt like I still had a full lap to go.

I had put so much effort in the race and wore up when it really mattered. I think athletes must plan well for the race,” he said.

Tergat also said Team Kenya will comprise of more than 90 athletes, way more than the 53 athletes that made the national team to Rio Olympics four years ago.

“This is the biggest contingent. We always take at least 50,” he said.

On Tuesday evening Team Kenya received Sh45 million sponsorship from Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) through its flagship beer Tusker.

Kenya Breweries Limited will now be the official partner for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that run in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24-August 8.

During the event, Olympic-bound athletes shared memories on their lifetime dreams to represent the nation at the biggest multi-sport contest.

World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich said since 2012 it has been her dream to make it to the Olympics.

“I watched Vivian Cheruiyot double in 5000m and 10000m in London and Rio Olympics. I got motivated with her move and I told myself that I should go for it,”  said Chepngetich.

She added: “ It was interesting that Vivian was just back from maternity. I am training hard in training and I am confident that we will deliver medals in Tokyo.”

Humphrey Khayange, a former Shujaa captain and deputy Chef de Mission to the Tokyo Games, said he drew inspiration from track legend Kipchoge Keino.

“I grew up in Eldoret where I watched athletics and had a good feeling. In 2009, I was part of the team that bid for Shujaa’s campaign into Olympics. I am happy that I am part of this Olympic team.” said Khayange.

In a statement read by Secretary of Administration Josphine Onunga, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said the Government is committed to continue working closely with the private sector to bring sports back following challenges occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.

“We believe that public-private partnerships are key components in our efforts to building a stronger sporting ecosystem from grassroots to national level,” said Amina.

CS also revealing that most athletes have received Covid-19 vaccination and that the second jab will be availed soon before the Games.

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