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Kenya sprinters look to turn the tide in Doha

Alphas Kishoyian goes off from the blocks during the Athletics Kenya trials to select the team for the World Championships at the Nyayo Stadium on September 13, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – When it comes to sprint events, Kenyan athletes have not been able to dominate the world the same way they have done over middle and long-distance races.

But at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, the trio of Mary Moraa, Hellen Syombua and Alphas Kishoyian hope they can turn that tide in their own favor with each of them targeting in the least, a place in the 400m final.

“I think personally I have trained well and I believe if I push hard, I will be able to get to the final. I feel that my body is in very good shape and hopefully everything goes well in Doha,” Kishoyian, who returns to the world stage after missing out two years  ago in London, said.

Emmanuel Korir, majorly an 800m athlete has also been listed for the 400m, but says he is yet to decide whether he will double or not having also qualified for the two lap race as well.

“I will just leave it at that and decide when I get to Doha. I have been recovering from injury and I wouldn’t want to put so much pressure on it. If I will feel strong enough I think I can double. It is tricky though because a championship is different,”

“You have to run from heats upwards and sometimes that can take a toll on you if you are doing two races,” Korir told Capital Sport.

Meanwhile, World Under-18 silver medalist Mary Moraa is elated at getting her first ever chance at the senior championship having attained the qualification time at the Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.

Mary Moraa waits to compete during the Athletics Kenya trials to select the team for the World Championships at the Nyayo Stadium on September 13, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The reigning national champion, who finished just nine microseconds off the medal bracket in Rabat said she hopes to make a good impression though she concedes competition will be tough.

“My biggest target this year was to qualify for Doha. I could not get the qualification time here at the National Championship and I wanted to go and do it in Rabat. When I was there, I picked up a small injury in the heats and I couldn’t do it,” explains Moraa.

She adds; “I did not give up hope and when I ran in the semis, I went all out to try and get the time. I had accumulation of lactic in the final 100 metres and I fell after crossing the line. However, when I looked at the screen and saw I attained the time, I was so excited.”

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Moraa believes that she can do well in Doha and just like Kishoyian, his hope is on getting to the final.

“If I train well and listen to my coach I know that I can do well. It is a big stage, but I am ready for it and will do my best,” she stated.

She is joined in the team by Syombua who is enjoying some good form having broken the national record during the trials for the Africa Games trials in Nairobi, clocking 51.09 seconds to lower the previous record of 51.18 set by Maxmila Imali in 2017.

She also won bronze at this year’s IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.

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