For the first time the national anthem was not played at a major international athletics event for three decades after the side settled for two silver medals as compared to last year where a vastly experienced team won three titles and set two world records in Nassau.
Rono, who spoke when the team of 27 returned home on Tuesday night however, defended his charges saying the technical bench could not select elite athletes since they failed to turn up in the national relays series which was a mandatory for consideration.
“It was very competitive from the word go. I was there last year but this time, things were different since I had a very young team.
“We took a new line-up because the technical bench had set rules requiring everyone to appear in one of the national relay series to be considered for selection but none of them showed up,” Rono said despite two-time world champion, Asbel Kiprop and African silver medallist, Ronald Kwemoi who pulled out late featuring in the last Safaricom Relay Series meet in Nairobi.
Kenya’s dismal performance was compounded by the disqualification in the men’s 4x800m and 4x200m races but Rono drew positives saying it was a learning experience for them.
“Other countries like Bahamas and USA made mistakes too; yes I agree the simple mistakes were costly but I’m happy with this team, they have a bright future because even elite athletes started from somewhere, so it’s good to give them a chance.”
Sprinter Collins Omae said the disqualifications affected the team’s overall performance but at the same time added it was a learning experience for them.
“Everyone did his bit and it was the first time for most of the guys so I think it wasn’t that bad of. The disqualification affected the overall performance because were dropped points but all in all it’s a sport and anything could happen; we also saw other counties disqualified. We didn’t have that much experience but it was a good learning curve,” Omae a former national Sevens player explained.
With top elite athletes like 800m Olympic and world record holder David Rudisha, women’s world champion Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei as well as 5000m Commonwealth Games title holder, Mercy Cherono locked out since they did not compete in either of the national series, Athletics Kenya CEO, Isaac Mwangi said they will reconsider the selection format.
“We have a very open selection where we give everyone a chance but we cannot force someone to run when they are not willing too, of course we leant few lessons on how well we can improve on the selection format so we will meet and rethink how well we can improve on that to field a stronger team in 2017,” the CEO declared.
“We were hoping to get gold in the medley relays but a few technicalities affected the team because we had to do a very tricky balance since we had a 4x400m and 4x800m team and we had to select someone to run the 400m and 800m legs,” Mwangi added.
In the absence of Kiprop and world junior record holder Kwemoi, Abenego Chesebe anchored the men’s medley to the silver medal.
The corresponding women race saw the team of Selah Jepleting, Emily Cherotich, Sylvia Chesebe, Joyce Zachary and Fransisca Koki gave Kenya other silver medal.