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AK adds US sprint star Nkanata for Bahamas

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CARVIN-NKANATANAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – US based sprinting sensation; Carvin Nkanata, is the latest inclusion in the men’s 4x200m team for this weekend’s inaugural IAAF World Relays Championships in Bahamas.

The 200m specialist who has won National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) medals in America and has a huge personal best of 20:17 in the longer dash; replaces Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) silver medallist Boniface Khagai who was axed alongside Stanley Kieti and Said Ruto.

Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president in charge of administration and competitions David Okeyo, confirmed the development Monday when the Bahamas team that also includes 4x400m men, 4x800m and 4x1500m squads for both men and women to a luncheon hosted by sponsors Safaricom.

“We are prepared for the championship but we will face a challenge in the sprints though it’s always good to start somewhere. We have trained well and will be anchored by one of our good sprinter based in America who has one of the best times in 200m.

“It will be a good start for us to finish fourth that’s if we don’t make the medals since we are not that competitive in sprints,” Okeyo declared.

“We are taking this event seriously since it will be used as qualifiers for the World Championships and Olympics. As a federation we must prepare good athletes and being it the first we would like to be on the map by winning as much medals as possible,” he added.

Nkanata will anchor Walter Moenga, Stephen Baraza and Tony Chirchir with the former saying they were ready for the challenge despite the 11th hour changes.

“We have no option but to team up and perform well as we had planned earlier on,” Moenga who won both 100 and 200m at this year’s KDF championships stated.

Meanwhile, World 800m champion Eunice Sum who will anchor her mentor and Osaka World Champion Janeth Jepkosgei, Sylvia Chesebe, Cherono Koech, Agatha Jeruto and Miriam Chepkemoi said it will be difficult break the World record of 7:50.17 set by Russia in 1984.

“Our aim is to go to the medal bracket because every team is well prepared. We are in a good shape though not 100 percent but we are good to go. We have a strong team we have trained together for a while especially Jepkosgei who has really inspired me all through and running with her is a dream come true to me.

“The World record is slightly far for now we are going for a win since this is our first time to compete in such event,” Sum who led her team to stop the clock at 8:23.13 in the National Trials expressed.

Team captain; Mark Mutai who will compete in the 4x400m alongside Boniface Mucheru, Solomon Bwoga and Alex Sampao was upbeat the team will post good result in the maiden event.

“We are going for a win and I’m sure we will come with medals because we have an experienced team. It’s only the sprinters who are not that experienced but from the training they have undergone they will surprise many.

“In the 4x400m we are prepared and we know each other well. We want to go out there and prove to AK who had earlier on omitted us from the squad that we are capable,” the Commonwealth Games champion said.

Nkanata who runs for the Pittsburgh Panthers won the 200m NCAA indoor silver in Albuquerque in March with a career best 20.52.

Last year, the former Iowa State University alumnus was named a Second-Team All-American for the 2012-13 indoor season and won the Big East Championship over 200m in a meet record of 21.04.

Sponsors Safaricom promised gold medal winners will share Sh1m (USD11,409) with those winning silver and bronze splitting Sh600, 000 (USD 6,845.4) and Sh400, 000 (USD 4,559.4) in that order with an additional Sh1m bonus for any quartet that sets a world record.

The team of 28 athletes will depart on Wednesday.

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