NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Team Kenya is eyeing to top the tally of the 2018
African Championships in Athletics (ACA) in Asaba, Nigeria
despite some delayed action on Wednesday.
The distance running
powerhouse last topped the medal charts at their home event in
Nairobi 2010 where they bagged 10 gold, seven silver and eight
bronze medals to finish ahead of Nigeria and South Africa.
victims to the travel chaos that saw the team stranded for 48
hours at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos
before finally arriving at the Delta State city on Wednesday
afternoon, the East African nation has set sights on dominating
the biannual track and field showpiece.
“We are here to
compete and win as many medals as possible despite the hiccups
here and there, which is normal and it happens with a lot of
people coming to Nigeria,” Kenya Team Manager, Abraham Mutai
said upon arrival in Asaba.
“We are still
focused to taking all the medals, this is a big team from Kenya,
we are almost a team of 90 with around 65 athletes and we are
ready. As a Team Leader, I’m ready, keeping my team together and
focused on what we came to do here,” he added.
The country will be
seeking to open their medal account in the men’s 10,000m final
on the opening day later Wednesday that organisers reduced to
only three events following the travel disorder that delayed the
arrival of participating teams.
Reigning world and
Commonwealth champions, Elijah Manangoi (men’s 1,500m) and
Hellen Obiri (women’s 5,000m) lead a loaded cast of 61 Kenyan
athletes that includes past and current world-beaters.
Among others to
watch include Beijing 2015 world champions, Julius Yego (men’s
Javelin) and Nicholas Bett (men’s 400m Hurdles) as well as
London 2017 World Championships silver winner, Timothy Cheruiyot
(men’s 1,500m) who is the fastest runner at his distance in the
world this year.
“Team Kenya, welcome
to Asaba Delta State. Let us take everything in our stride with
our usual humility. Good luck and God bless,” Athletics Kenya (AK)
President Jack Tuwei said in an earlier statement to the
athletes upon their arrival in Asaba.
Kenya finished third
at the last edition of the event, Marrakech 2014 in Morocco
behind South Africa and Nigeria with seven gold, eight silver
and 10 bronze medals.
still stranded in Nigeria
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s athlete representative Milcah Chemos and
team captain javelin Olympic silver medalist Julius Yego have
rebuked organization of the Africa Championships in Nigeria as
Kenya team spent a second night stranded in Lagos.
Speaking to Xinhua
on phone from Lagos, Yego admonished Nigeria organization for
the premier Africa track and field competition saying they may
reconsider returning home.
The team left
Nairobi on Monday morning and are among at least 200 athletes
from about 12 countries that are stuck in Lagos waiting for
connecting flight to Asaba, where the Africa championship was
due to start Wednesday to Sunday.
“We are stranded for
the second day at the airport. We have returned to the hotel yet
we have competition starting Wednesday. We are not sure if we
will go to Asaba, the city where the Africa Championships is
being held, which is about 500 kms from Lagos.”
Pictures of Kenyan
athletes sleeping on the airport floor in Lagos have gone viral
on social media and there are reports some other countries have
pulled out having travelled to Lagos, but failed to get the
connection flight to Asaba.
World 1,500m silver
medalist Timothy Cheruiyot said he is frustrated and tired of
the long layoff. “I am still stranded in Lagos. This is
unimaginable,” he said.
Kenya to plan in
advance for smooth Asaba exit
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Kenyan government on Wednesday promised to
make advance plans for the departure of the country’s team from
the 21st CAA Africa Athletics Championships that end
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports and Heritage
announced a coordinated effort with the Kenya High Commission in
Nigeria would be rolled out to bring the team home after the
continental track and field showpiece.
“We have been in
touch with the team all through and also the embassy has played
a great role to ensure they travelled today (Wednesday),”
Kaberia told journalists in Nairobi.
The government was
issuing a formal statement following reports the team of almost
100 members with 61 athletes was stranded at the Murtala
International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria for 48 hours before they
finally left for Asaba.
“We will also
communicate with the team there and ensure the same does not
happen when they are leaving after the championship,” he added,
saying they would arrange the return flights and connections for
the Kenyan team before Sunday.
The Kenyan officials
blamed organizers for the chaos that saw over 300 athletes
stranded at the airport sparking outrage across the country with
top athletes sharing their grief on social media.
“This was not our
doing because we had been in constant communication with the
local Organizing Committee and everything was said to have been
well planned. They did not have the capacity to handle such a
high number of athletes coming in with few flights available,”
said Noor Hassan Noor, the Sports Chief Administrative
The final batch of
athletes arrived at Asaba an hour and a half before the official
start of the competition on Wednesday afternoon having left for
Nigeria on Monday.