Plotting athletics assault

Thursday, January 21st, 2021 00:00 |
Athletics head coach Julius Kirwa at a past National Trials. Photo/PD/Photo/WEBSTER NYANDIKA

National Athletics head coach Julius Kirwa says he has drafted an elaborate plan that will see the country reclaim the 10,000m crown at the Tokyo Olympics.

With the blessings of Athletics Kenya (AK), Kirwa says the plan is to have selected 10,000m athletes training together as early as February for some time, way before the national trials for the Olympics are done.

“We are planning to change our strategy. Unlike before when athletes only joined camp after the trials, this time we want to have our probables training together months before we actually select the final team,” Kirwa told People Sport.

The emphasis he says is to get the highest level of teamwork, an aspect that has failed the country severally before.

“I am looking at some 10 top athletes over the 10,000m distance. The focus will be on stamina, endurance and speed.

With the help of other coaches, we shall be able to get the best out of our athletes,” he added.

Going to Tokyo, Kirwa says, Kenya will once again enter the race as underdogs since the country rarely win medals in the race.

“In camp, we would assess which athlete is good in endurance, stamina and who the one we count on speed, if the aspects are combined, then we will simply have a title winning combination,” noted Kirwa who said over 50 years was a very long time since Kenya last won gold at the Olympics.

World half marathon silver medalist Kibiwot Kandie, former world half marathon Champion Geoffrey Kamworor, Bedan Karoki, Rhonex Kipruto, Charles Mneria, Rodgers Kwemoi and Paul Tanui are Kirwa’s main focus.

“You Know we are a country with abundance of talent. That is why I believe, if we focus on the said athletes, then we can finally get it right.

I want by the time we are doing our trials, we have our best three,” he assured.

Kenya’s last Olympics gold medal in the distance was won by the late Naftali Temu at the 1968 edition, held in Mexico city.

Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei the current top athlete over the distance, can be easily toppled by Kenyans, with good preparations Kirwa said.

“Cheptegei trains here in the country with our athletes. I feel he is beatable. If we work on our final kick, then no one can stop us,” remarked Kirwa.

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