Nock to field big Commonwealth squad

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CHERONO-KIBIWOTNAIROBI, January 23- Kenya will enter a team of 270 athletes and officials at the Commonwealth Games, targeting to surpass the last medal haul of 33 in Delhi 2010.

Kipchoge Keino, the president of National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), said the big contingent will cost the country 4 million U.S. dollars.

Track and field, Kenya’s golden goose in international sports will have 25 female and 30 male athletes with an additional 12 officials. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games starts from July 23 to August 3.

“We have talented athletes who can showcase their ability at the big stage. We will be going for a better performance in Glasgow and I hope the management of the team will do a great job in preparing the competitors early,” Kipchoge told Xinhua in Nairobi.

The games organisers, are concerned with the big numbers and battling to cut down the representations. It is why NOCK is keen to have all disciplines clear their trials for the games by June and forward the names early to the Commonwealth Games management.

“In case of injuries NOCK and Commonwealth Games officials will review the cause of the required change before sanctioning their replacement,” said Kipchoge.

Kenya is among the big sporting nations in the Club Games and it registered a good performance four years ago in New Delhi, India where it won 12 gold medals, 12 silver and nine bronze.

Kenya has attended 13 Commonwealth Games, beginning in 1954 and missing only the 1986 Games.

The country has won 162 Commonwealth Games medals, mostly in athletics and boxing, with twenty-two coming from a single event, the 3000 metres steeplechase, an event in which no athlete but a Kenyan has won a medal since 1994.

The Commonwealth Games came to a close on October 14. Australia maintained its commanding medal count to the end, bringing home 74 gold medals and a total of 177 medals.

India and England were second and third, with India winning 38 gold medals (101 total medals) and England winning 37 gold medals (142 total medals).

Over 72 teams will compete in Glasgow. The 2010 Commonwealth Games marked the debut participation of Rwanda, which became a member of the Commonwealth in 2009.

The sporting events at the Commonwealth Games include boxing, cycling, diving, swimming, and wrestling; in addition, the competition features some sports relatively unique to nations of the Commonwealth, such as lawn bowling, rugby sevens, and netball, a sport similar to basketball that was developed in England in the late 19th century.

The Kenya team will start its residential camp for the games on June 14. Team Kenya will depart for the games a month later on July 14 to acclimatize ahead of the contests.

It will also be the day when the games village will be officially opened.

All teams are expected to send the names of their participants before the June 11 deadline.

“Kenya will participate in 15 disciplines and we urge the federations to prepare adequately,” said Kipchoge.

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