Athletics Athletics

Mweresa books 400m semis slot in London

Boniface Mweresa takes off from the blocks at the National Championships in Nairobi. He was part of the winning 4x400m Relay team at the African Games. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5- Boniface Mweresa will be the only Kenyan in the semi-finals of the 400m at the London IAAF World Championships after making it as one of the six fastest losers from the heats at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Mweresa, who was a late qualifier for the World Championships clocked 45.58 finishing fourth in Heat Three, but made it with his time being one of the six fastest outside the automatic top three qualifiers.

The other two Kenyans in the race, Raymond Kibet and former Kenya Sevens star Collins Omae failed to qualify after finishing eighth and fifth respectively.

In the last World Championships in Beijing, China, two years ago, Kenya only had one representative, Alphas Kishoyian who failed to make it off the heats.

Kenya will now have a medal prospect with Mweresa. The 2015 African silver medalist took on in lane four and despite having the second slowest reaction time off the blocks, he put up some burst of energy in the final 200m to wade off a surging Rafael Omelko from Poland.

Omae was the first Kenyan on track and with a target of at least getting to the semis on his debut at the world stage, the dream was never to be.

Bolting off in the inside lane, Omae had a good start but heading into the home straight lost out energy and despite a late push could only manage to finish second from last, clocking 46.10.

Kibet had a closer chance of being one of the fast six qualifiers but came 30 micro-seconds off. He clocked 45.75 to finish fifth, his attempt at dipping in some energy in the final 50 metres falling short as Spain’s Oscar Husillos held on to finish fourth and pick one of the six losers’ slots.

Botswana’s Isaac Mwakwala had the fastest qualification time, winning heat five in 44.55. This is despite seemingly strolling to the finish line after looking back and noticing he had already secured a sizeable lead over his opponents with 50 metres to go.

Reigning champion and World Record holder, South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk also strolled to the finish line, winning Heat Two in 45.27. 2015 silver medalist LeShawn Merritt also qualified with a 45.00 timing.