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Veteran Gathimba decries lack of competition as he qualifies for Tokyo

By , People Daily Digital
Saturday, June 19th, 2021 00:00 | < 1 min read
Gideon Gathimba celebrates after winning the men walk competition and qualifying for Olympics during the trials at Kasarani. Photo/PD/AMOS ABUGA

Samuel Gathimba has decried lack of stiff competition after once again becoming the only walker to qualify for Tokyo Games.

The athlete warmed up to Tokyo Olympic Games with unchallenged victory in men’s 20km race walk during the Kenyan trials  at the Moi International Sports Centre yesterday.

The African Games gold medalist who is the only qualifier in the event, clocked 1:14.23 to win the 50km race, beating Simon Wachira from Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to second place in 1:22:07.

“I feel bad since we don’t have more athletes going to Tokyo in race walking. I think Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to that,” said Gathimba

Youngster Dominic Ndigiti from Nyamza South settled for third spot in a time of 1:24.32.

“ My dancing style shows you I love music. I am a musician and I love dancing and that is why I danced after finishing the race,”  said Gathimba. 

“I just want to perform well at the Tokyo Olympics because it will be my second olympic after Rio. I have gained experience which I should count on,” he added. 

In the corresponding women’s race, national champion Emily Ngii (KDF) was disqualified despite winning the women’s race walk in 1:29.01.

Sylvia Kemboi would be declared the winner in 1:34:07.

No female athlete has attained the 1:31:00 qualifying standards for the Tokyo Olympics.

Meanwhile, the team of Cleophas Kipruto, Hellen Syombua, Jared Momanyi and Mary Moraa set a new National Record in the 4x400m mixed relay race during the trials.

Kipruto anchored the Athletics Kenya “A” team to victory 3:16.21 seconds a time that ranks the team 16th overall and tentatively as part of the teams that have qualified for Tokyo.

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