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.