NAIROBI, August 12 – Jason Dunford has brought smiles back to the faces of millions of Kenyans after winning his swimming 100m freestyle heat but missing the mark to qualify for Wednesdays semi-final.
Jason beat a field of eight swimmers in the 4th heat of his class in 49.6 seconds, beating to second place his closest rival Israel’s Nimrod Bar-or Shapira by 0.04 in a flawless swim. But unfortunately his time was not enough to push him to the hotly contested semi’s.
Jason’s 24th overall ranking was way out of the mark to be part of the 15 swimmers slotted for the next round.
In third place was Slovenia’s Peter ManKoc. Jason beat his qualifying time of 49.98 seconds. The Wednesday semis will pit the Kenyan star, making his first appearance at the Olympics, against some of the top names of that class.
His most favorite race, 100m butterfly, in which he is ranked 10th worldwide and sixth at these games, will be held on Thursday, the same day that his younger brother David will start his 50m free style campaign.
Meanwhile earlier Tuesday, Kenya’s hopes of a medal in the boxing category at the Beijing Olympics continued to dwindle after the third boxer Bernard Irungu Ngumba lost to Uzerbakistan’s Tulashboy Doniyorov.
Ngumba lost by 10 points to 1 in Tuesday morning flyweight bout.
Suleiman Bilali is the last hope for Kenya clinching any medal in boxing as the Beijing Olympic Games enter day 4 after the elimination of Aziz Ali and Nick Okoth.
Bilali is expected to take on Montero Winston of Dominican Republic on Wednesday in a light-flyweight.
The final batch of 25 track runners and three officials left Monday for Beijing.
Richard Mateelong (3,000m steeplechase) Edwin Soi, Eliud Kipchoge and Thomas Longosiwa (5,000m) Moses Masai and Micah Kogo (10,000m) Wilfred Bungei, Alfred Kirwa and Boaz Lalang (800m) and 1,500m alternate athlete Harun Keitany were the male athletes who flew out. The female runners were Irene Jelagat and Nancy Jebet (1500m) Vivian Cheruiyot, Priscah Jepleting and Sylvia Kibet (5000m) and marathoners Salina Kosgei and Martha Komu.
Three reserves, Kipsiele, Leonard Komon (men 10,000m) and Philes Ongori (women 5,000m) were due to depart with team physiotherapist, Japheth Kariakim, and assistant coach, James Mutisya.