Kirwa claims Kenyans running for other countries pose more threat than rivals

Thursday, September 19th, 2019 00:00 |
Faith Chepng’etich sprint ahead of Winnie Chebet and Selah Jepleting to win women 1,500m during the National Athletics Trails at Nyayo Stadium. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Athletics coach Julius Kirwa has challenged Kenyans to put the obsession with Ethiopia aside but rather be worried of other athletes from around the globe heading to the World Athletics Championships later this month in Doha.

Kirwa who is Kenyan head coach to the world championships says the biggest threat for Kenya will come from Kenyans themselves. 

He says unlike Ethiopia, which has stronger teams in the long distances, the other countries have invested more in all events.

“We have ex-Kenyans who will be running for US, Qatar, Bahrain, and many other countries, those are the athletes I want to refer to as Kenya B, C and even D, since we are Kenya A. Such athletes are a big threat because they know us very well,” said Kirwa.

“Closer home you cannot afford to overrule Ugandans, these are the athlete that live in the country and does everything the Kenyan way. Actually you can’t differentiate them with our own, that is why I think they are a threat to us,” said Kirwa.

 Kirwa is also urging Team Kenya to reciprocate the performance of ‘B’ the team that took part in the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco.

“That team surpassed expectations given that it was relatively young and majority of the runners were going to the Games for the first time,” said Kirwa.

“The younger athletes showed more hunger and desire to learn just as we trained them and made them to know that they were carrying hopes of millions of Kenyans. 

They posted good results, that is the kind of response I expect from the team we are taking to Doha” Kirwa added.

 The coach says senior athletes in camp are making the coaches’ work easier by guiding the juniors to keep the countries tradition at the championships.

“We are doing more of polishing and just basics and speed work. 

We have trained in hot and humid areas namely Ruiru and Athi River around midday, which has been tough for athletes. 

But I believe the end justified the means,” he added.

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