NAIROBI, Kenya, July 1 – Athletes in the Kenyan squad for the Commonwealth Games will not be barred from competing at the IAAF Diamond League meetings whilst in training camp that was officially opened on Tuesday.
World bronze medallist Hellen Obiri among others will compete at this weekend’s Meeting Areva in Paris, France while World and Olympic champion David Rudisha has confirmed participation in the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix to run next weekend.
Rudisha and his female counterpart Eunice Sum are also expected to lead other elite runners at the Herculis Meeting in Monaco a week later, only two days after the team of 59 track and field athletes depart for the Club Games in Glasgow.
“We are not forbidding anyone from competing in the Diamond League or any other major race so long as they attend the biometric visa accreditation clinic.
“The races they are going to run abroad is a good preparation for the games and at the same time benefiting them,” Track and Field Team Manager, Paul Mutwii declared on Tuesday when the training camp was officially launched by Principal Secretary for Sports Arts and Culture, Patrick Omutia.
The Athletics Kenya vice president express concern about the short duration the athletes will be in training ahead of their departure on July 20 in the camp set up by the National Olympics Committee- Kenya (Nock)
“The period is short we needed more time to co-ordinate the team because they were training in different places like for 10, 000m we need to put the six athletes both men and women together so that they can bond.
“If we could have come two weeks earlier, the team could have ample time to prepare but I’m certain we will perform well since we selected experienced athletes who have been competing in major races,” he added.
“We don’t expect to face stiff competition especially in the long distance since Ethiopia is not there. It’s only Uganda and Britain’s Mo Farah who are good but for the middle distance and short races we have a challenge,” Mutwii added.
Kenya will be represented by 195 athletes in 15 disciplines and Chef de Mission for the team Stephen Arap Soi was confident the nation will even do better than last edition’s performance where they bagged 12 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze from athletics, swimming and boxing.
“This year we have good and tested athletes who have won various events including last year’s World championship in Moscow, so we hope to come with more medals than in 2010.
“We are one team and no discipline is superior to the other and that’s why we have taken every sport seriously. I want to appreciate the various federations for selecting the best that will do our county proud.
“I urge all the coaches and athletes to make good use of the time to keep shape and apart from the marathon team who are training in Iten, cycling in Murang’a and swimming in Mombasa, all other teams will be based in Kasarani,” Soi, the NOC-K) deputy treasurer stated.
Rugby the only team sport representing the country, will be the first batch alongside Shooting and Judo to depart for the Games in a fortnight, but national 7s rugby team manager Steven Sewe is troubled by the team’s injuries.
“It’s quite a challenge because we have some of our key players who are also part of the 15s team in the World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar so that gives us little time to prepare also the team has been struck with injuries since Joshua Chisanga and Willy Ambaka are out but we can’t give that as an excuse we will prepare well since we have depth,” Sewe told Capital sport.
“We will camp in Glasgow where we are familiar with stadium before the games kick-off on 23rd.We don’t expect easy competition because other teams have brought their best players but our strategy is to play to win,” he concluded.
Paul Treu charges are drawn in Group B with South Africa, Cook Islands Trinidad and Tobago and according to Sewe, this competition will help them prepare for the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series that will serve as the 2016 Olympics qualifiers in Rio de Janeiro.
“This tournament will give us opportunity to test our new players like Martin Owila who is with the 15s team as we seek to strengthen our squad ahead of the World Series where we hope to finish top four and qualify for Olympics so we have to put our all,” the Team Manager concluded.
The Government has injected Sh231m (USD 2.6m) while NOCK added Sh100m (USD 1.1m) to facilitate for the team.
Olympics and Worlds 3000m steeple chase champion Ezekiel Kemboi and Javelin thrower Julius Yego are among the athletes who reported to camp on Sunday.
Yego was named the captain of the track and field squad.