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Swimmers to start Kenyan Olympic medal quest

NAIROBI, August 7 – Kenya begins its quest for medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Friday and first on the draw will be the nation’s top swimmer Jason Dunford.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for 3pm Kenyan time (1200GMT).

Jason will be doing the 100m butterfly and the 100m freestyle, after earning his qualification by taking part in several races in the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne Australia, and making it to the finals.

In the later programs, Aziz Ali (Light Heavyweight) will get into the ring on Friday. Apart from Ali, Suleiman Bilali (Africa Light Fly Weight), Nicholas Okoth (Flyweight) and Bernard Ngumba (Feather Weight) will start off the boxing schedules.

Mathew Lidaywa will begin Kenya’s renewed quest for an Olympic medal in rowing. He will be doing the 2000m singles sculls event.

Athletics, Kenya’s forte, is scheduled to kick-off on August 16.

Jelimo factor

Meanwhile, Kenya’s new top 800m athlete Pamela Jelimo is not worried about the weather conditions in Beijing ahead of her debut on the most prestigious sports showcase in the world.

Jelimo, who is brushing aside the much talked about weather conditions in the Chinese capital, is already training hard ahead of the start of the Olympics on Friday and is upbeat to return top results.

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The 19-year-old Jelimo, who holds the current unbeatable record of 1m54s, arrived at the Olympic village on Tuesday and headed straight for a late evening training session.

Jelimo was confident on arrival and had to start by running to avoid the searing heat that reached a high of 32.4C on Wednesday, with humidity levels oscillating between 58 and 78 percent.

Speaking after the training, Jelimo said: “We trained well today (Thursday) and I’m happy with today’s session. It wasn’t bad at all.”

She will team up with world champion Janet Jepkosgei, in an attempt to give Kenya its first 1-2 in a women’s race at the Olympics, and Kenya’s first women’s gold medal.

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