Dapo Sotuminu, Lagos
Over 60 Kenyan athletes are expected to take part in the 21st Senior African Athletics Championships to be staged in Asaba, Delta State from August 1st to 5th.
After a not too encouraging outing at the last Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, Kenya are looking to make a big statement in Asaba with their ‘A’ athletes
Athletics Kenya President, Jack Tuwei, said they will take the Asaba 2018 event seriously since the top two runners from each discipline will qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup scheduled in Ostrava, the Czech Republic on September 8-9.
Kenya finished second overall in the last edition of the championships two years ago in Durban, South Africa, clinching eight gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals.
Host South Africa reigned supreme with 33 medals, while Nigeria was third with 16 medals.
“The Intercontinental Cup is the biggest competition and we want most of our athletes to qualify. That is why we are keen to have the strongest team selected on merit to travel to Nigeria,” Tuwei was quoted as saying in the Kenyan media.
Top athletes led by world 1,500m champion, Elijah Manangoi, 800m Commonwealth winner, Wycliffe Kinyamal, and Helen Obiri, the Olympic 5,000m silver medalist are all expected to make the cut for the championships.
Kenya will host a three-day national competition/trials in Nairobi between June 21-23 to select its team to Asaba.
Olympic bronze and Commonwealth Games 800m silver medalist, Margaret Nyairera, has confirmed she will compete in the 400m.
Also, World Cross Country silver medalist, Alice Aprot, says she wants to atone missing the Commonwealth Games with victory at the Africa Athletics Championships in Asaba in August.
Aprot, who won the 10,000m race during the Africa championships two years ago in Durban is positive she would successfully defend her title in Asaba.
She would, however, brace up for stiff opposition from other top names like Sandrafelis Chebet, Stacy Ndiwa, and Beatrice Mutai among others.
Aside from Kenya, it is understood that the likes of South Africa and of course host, Nigeria are also planning big for Asaba 2018.
The Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State, will host the Asaba 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships from August 1-5.
Dapo Sotuminu, Lagos