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TAMPERE, (Xinhua) -- Edward Zakayo Pingua (L) of Kenya, Stanley Waithaka Mburu © of Kenya and Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway celebrate after the Men’s 5000 Meters Final at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, on July 14, 2018.Edward Zakayo Pingua won the gold medal with 13 minutes and 20.16 seconds, Mburu won the silver medal with 13 minutes and 20.57 seconds, and Ingebrigtsen got the third place with 13 minutes and 20.78 seconds. XINHUA PHOTO: MATTI MATIKAINEN
Diamond League distraction concern for
Kenya ahead of Africa Championships

By John Kwoba NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s head coach Stephen Mwaniki says he is under pressure to deliver results at the Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria despite lacking some elite runners in his training camp.

Speaking to Xinhua in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mwaniki said up to 15 elite athletes have made technical appearances in the camp as they have travelled between cities to compete in the Diamond League.

The Rabat, Paris, Monaco and London legs of IAAF Diamond League have drawn huge representation from Kenyan athletes. The coach now wants the athletes to settle down and focus on team tactics ahead of their departure for Nigeria on Saturday.

The Africa Championships will be held in Asaba, Nigeria from Aug 1-5.

Mwaniki believes he still has a strong enough team to rise above the pressure to deliver the medals that will see them surpass the last mark of 24 - eight gold, eight silver and eight bronze - won in the last championships in Durban, South Africa in 2016.

“We want to surpass the medal tally we had in Durban two years ago. Our main focus is winning more many gold medals which will boost our chances of topping the medal table. We have prepared well for the past three weeks and we expect to perform better,” said Mwaniki.

Individually, athletes will be seeking chances to represent the continent at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, the Czech Republic from September 18-19. Only the best two in each discipline will win a ticket to the Continental Cup.

“Getting medals nowadays is a challenge but we have trained our athletes to counter such challenges. The athletes are aware that winning gold medals will guarantee them a place in the Continental Cup and that will help in achieving our target,” said Mwaniki.

Mwaniki also said that a blip in performance shown by Conseslus Kipruto at the Monaco Diamond League will not be a major concern as he believes the Olympic and world champion will overcome this challenge and win gold for Kenya in Nigeria.

“I know he will get over it and deliver the medal. I have talked with him and he has assured me of his fitness as we head to Nigeria. I will observe him more in the next five days and know where he stands in the pecking order,” added Mwaniki. 


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