With the World Athletics Championships date fast approaching, Team Kenya has already started taking shape. Looking at the performances in the last three Diamond League meetings, things are no doubt looking up and we can all be hopeful of success.
Apart from the marathon team, where some key names withdrew due to personal commitments, we can as well come up with a provisional team in other events if we want to, going by the latest performances.
After the three Diamond League meetings, we can comfortably pick the top two in each of our strong events. We have continued to feature in the top three especially in the mid and long distance races while ensuring that we selfishly guard our traditional 3,000m steeplechase.
I am especially happy with the emergence of three fast-rising stars — Cellphine Chespol and Beatrice Chepkoech in the 3,000m steeplechase and Lilian Kasait in the 5,000m.
The three posted impressive results in Eugene recently, leaving no doubt of Kenya’s future over the distances. The arrival of Kasait is especially timely — considering that it is coming at a time when Olympics 5,000m champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, has transitioned to marathon running. Kasait finished second to Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) after posting 14:36.80 in the 5,000m.
Chespol (8:58.78 2) and Chepkoech (9:00.70) were equally impressive in steeplechase, winning the top two positions while at the same time assuring Kenyans that they are ready to pick up from where Olympics silver medallists Hyvin Kiyeng and former world champion, Milcah Chemos left at.
The two also ensured that the Olympics champion and world record holder in the water and jump event, Ruth Jebet from Bahrain, came third.
The three are a true testimony that we need to put emphasis on the youth structures with the help of the government.
Faith Chepng’etich, who continues to perform wonders in the women’s 1,500m, is a result of youth programme. She is fresh from winning her speciality in Eugene.
Like in Rio, I foresee women dominating their male counterparts in London in August.
The men need to wake up from the slumber and strategise ahead of London. We were not at our best in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m at Rio Olympics and this will need to change.
The secret is in the preparations and the faster they realise this, the better.