NAIROBI, Kenya, April 3 – The countdown to the inaugural World Relays Championships gathers steam this Saturday with the penultimate Safaricom Relays Series meet at Kasarani that will pave way for the IAAF World Relays Championships Trials on April 26 at the same venue.
AK has made the meet open to all athletes rather than focusing on the invitational format to encourage more hopefuls to try out for a chance to represent their nation in Bahamas on May 23 and 24.
AK vice-president in charge of administration and competitions, David Okeyo, explained, “This will allow those athletes chasing qualifying standards to do so and also have adequate time to prepare for the national trials.”
He called on athletes to turn out in large numbers with the federation putting plans in place to cater for the influx by extending registration to race day.
Okeyo was speaking when presiding over the closing ceremony for this year’s Kenya Technical Training Institute Sports Organisations games (KETTISO) at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday.
The final phase will be conducted on April 26 to select a team that will represent the country at the World Relay Championships in Bahamas.
“Kenya has been a power house in the relays and we first won the Olympics gold during the times of Charles Asati, the late Julias Sang, Robert Ouko and Hezekiah Nyamau. We have never forgotten about them up to now and that means there is talent in the short races.
“I’m happy the IAAF has initiated the relays to be run as the championships on there own and therefore we have come up with a series that will be run for three phases to select the team that will go to residential training camp for three weeks before they head to Bahamas for the first edition,” Okeyo expressed.
The Vice President, who dismissed claims that the first held on March 22 was disorganized, added the final Trials will be by invitation only before a panel of selectors name the squad that will represent Kenya at the inaugural in Bahamas.
“The first was a build up and the turn up was good, I know people always say we did not see the big names but how did the big names come up? They also came from somewhere so we are giving others a chance to grow. We are starting the event with the straight events before the main event in the afternoon.”
Athletes will compete in the 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m, 4 x 400m, 4 x 800m and 4 x 1500m both men and women with Okeyo saying they will send a strong squad for the World Championships as Kenya look forward to maintain her 4 x 800m and 4 x 1500m men and women record.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same event where Kaiboi Technical Training Institute were crowned 2014 KETTISO champions, organisation chairman, Evans Bosire, said for the first time the annual games incorporated their counterparts from Special schools and confirmed they will make them a regular.
Karen technical for the deaf were among the 34 Institutes that participated in this year’s competition where they went on to win the short races, with 200m Deaflympics champion Beryl Wamira, dominating the Women’s 100m before leading her charges to clinch the 4x400m.
“We work on a principal of impartiality where we don’t discriminate against any one and that’s why you have seen the Karen Technical for the deaf joining us since they are studying the same curriculum with the rest.
“The competition has become very stiff with the standards going high since we are getting good times especially in the area of sprints. Some of the students can challenge national record holders,” the AK public relations officer explained.
Bosire who also serves as the principal of Keroka Technical Training Institute, the four time champions added the school games has become very competitive as institution keep on improving every year.
“We have always produced good athletes who have gone ahead to represent the country in the international events, like 10,000m runner Paul Tanui. So we are very serious in terms of sports especially athletics. We made a special request to AK to allow us participate as a region in the national trials.
“As defending champions (Keroka) we are facing a lot of challenges from other institutions, we have been winning it for the last four years so I’m happy to see other teams coming up.”
Kaiboi collected 19 medals to claim the title while Rift Valley Technical Training Institute was second with 16 as defending champions Keroka settled for third after bagging 15.