NAIROBI, July 15 (Xinhua) — Three Kenyan sprinters left for Japan on a mission to win an Olympic medal in short distance races at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
The trio will join the advance party in Kurume City, Japan where Team Kenya will be based before traveling to Tokyo for the start of the event on July 23.
Ferdinand Omanyala and Mark Otieno, who will run in the men’s 100m, were joined by national women 400m record holder Hellen Syombua, as the east African nation more famed for distance running seeks to make an impact in the sprints.
Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday evening ahead of their departure, the trio expressed confidence their Olympic dream will begin in style when the track and field program of Tokyo 2020 starts on July 29.
“I’m feeling great, it’s been a journey and now it’s becoming real, we are heading to the airport, it’s becoming real with every second and we are going to show the world what Kenya is made of in sprints,” said Omanyala, who ran a new national record of 10.02 in the 100m during the Tokyo 2020 Kenyan trials last month.
He urged Kenyans to be glued to their screens and “await miracles” when he lines up against the best sprinters in the world in Japan.
Teammate Mark Otieno, who followed him home at the Trials in 10.05, was too excited even to eat breakfast on the day of departure.
The pair became the first Kenyan duo to qualify for the 100m sprint at the Olympics in the national trials at the high altitude of Nairobi, and they are looking forward to running even faster in Tokyo, with the elusive sub-10-second barrier in their sights.
National 400m record holder Syombua will join the 100m sprinters in the journey to Kurume City for a 10-day training with the aim of bagging a medal. The 23-year-old, whose personal best of 51.09 ranks as the second-fastest in the country, won the Olympic trials in Nairobi in 52.44.
The country’s new gem in the women’s 400m gives Kenya high hopes of winning an elusive medal in short races at the Olympic Games.
With limited competition and other challenges brought about by the global pandemic, the sprinting team has benefitted from the coaching of Geoffrey Kimani, a strength and conditioning expert from the country’s Kenya rugby 7s team, in a bid to be in peak condition in Tokyo.