World Relays Championships: Errors that proved costly for Team Kenya in Bahamas

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World Relays Championships: Errors that proved costly for Team Kenya in Bahamas

Joel Omotto 17:25 - 06.05.2024

Team Kenya failed to secure Olympic qualification at the World Relays Championships in Bahamas but things would perhaps have been different had they not shot themselves in the foot.

Kenya’s team to the World Relays Championships in the Bahamas finished the two-day event empty-handed after failing to win a medal or secure Olympic qualification.

Team Kenya featured in the mixed relays, men’s 4x100m, men’s 4x400m and women’s 4x400m and after the first day when three of the teams finished last, they had a second bite of the cherry on Day 2 to try and secure Olympic qualification.

However, with a top two finish needed in each of their heats, it was not to be. The mixed relay team finished last in their heat, while the men’s 4x100m team that had Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala and former national champion Mark Otieno managed fourth place. The women’s 4x400m also came home last with the men’s 4x400m impressing with a fourth-place finish.

With the top two sealing a place at the Paris Olympics, Team Kenya missed out and will have to go through the tough route based on ranking during the qualification period that runs from December 31, 2022 to June 30, 2024.

But while competition was tough, Kenya could perhaps have done much better had their plans before the event been smooth.

The team’s travel arrangements were hit with setbacks when four athletes failed to travel for failing to get transit visas to the United States. Veronica Mutua, Moitalel Mpoke, Jackline Nanjala and Samuel Chege were the athletes who missed out, leaving coach Stephen Mwaniki’s plans in disarray.

Unconfirmed reports have claimed the visa application was done late, leading to the setback.

That was not all, Team Kenya also travelled late to the Championship, arriving in the Bahamas just a day before the event while some countries, notably Botswana and South Africa, were in the Caribbean nation five days earlier.

“They suffered fatigue, owing to long hours spent travelling and connecting flights. That will always affect the athletes,” coach Mwaniki told Nation of the woes that his team faced.

“Relays are a teamwork affair and it is discouraging when some athletes who are part of the team fail to travel.”

Besides the four, Mwaniki’s team also missed the experienced Mary Moraa while Zablom Ekwam could not participate due to a health concern.

“It’s unfortunate I can’t manage to compete due to health issues. Let’s wish Team Kenya all the best,” Ekwam posted on Facebook.

Mwaniki was therefore left with Omanyala, Otieno, Hesbon Ochieng and Meshack Babu in the 4x100m team, Kennedy Muthoki, Mercy Chebet, Kevin Kipkorir and Maureen Thomas in the 4x400m mixed relay and Joan Cherono, Diana Chebet, Vanice Nyagisera and Rahab Ndirangu in the women’s 4x400m team.

Their inexperience told as they had it rough against their better prepared rivals with the mixed relay team even struggling with the baton exchange on Day 1 which proved costly.

There is, however, great hope in the men’s 4x400m relay team that finished an impressive fifth in their heat on the first day after clocking a season’s best 3:03.29 before improving to fourth on the second day but with a slower time of 3:04.83.

Experienced duo Wiseman Were and Boniface Mweresa plus David Sanayok and Brian Kapirante were the members of the team.

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