Nairobi, Aug 8 (IANS) Kenya head coach Stephen Mwaniki believes his team will unruffle the USA and Jamaica domination of sprint events at the 2019 Doha World Championships.
Speaking after returning from Asaba here, Nigeria where he led the country to the overall title with 11 gold medals, Mwaniki wants more focus placed on improving the standards of sprinters in order to widen the country’s medal scope heading to the World Championships, reports Xinhua news agency.
The United States and Jamaica have dominated the sprint competitions at all major championships and the coach believes this duopoly must be broken while at the same time, Kenya continues to maintain a firm grip on the middle and long distance races.
“The sprints team we had in Asaba for the Africa Championships performed very well while the field event athletes showed remarkable improvements. All we would want is for our federation to support them in becoming better performers at the bigger stage. As coaches, we are ready for the task,” said Mwaniki on Wednesday.
Despite Kenya ruling the roost in Nigeria, Mwaniki remains uncertain on how the athletes sprung to life as the championship grew, having endured hours stranded at the airport in Lagos enroute to Asaba with no training and little food.
Our athletes had prepared very well on their way to Asaba but we met headwinds that destroyed our morale. It is interesting to see how the athletes reacted to our instructions and advise to put
the country first and deliver the goodies,” Mwaniki said.
“I led the team to top of Africa in 2010, when Nairobi hosted the championships and I’m glad I have done it again. The focus now shifts to the IAAF World Championships in Doha next year and I hope they will build on this performance to return to the top of the world,”Mwaniki said.
In the last World Championships in London, Kenya wound up second behind USA with South Africa taking third place.
The USA dominated the games winning 30 medals – 10 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze to Kenya’s 11 medals of which five were gold, two silver and four bronze.
It’s the feat that Mwaniki wants to beat in Doha in a year’s time.