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Kenya squad the best: Athletics vice-president Mutwii

By Kiprono Ericson
Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
Rosemary Wanjiru Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

Athletics Kenya vice-president Paul Mutwii has hailed the athletes who will be participating in the 24th edition of the World Athletics Half Marathon in Gdynia, Poland, on Saturday as a competitive team that will bring home the medals.

“The technical committee in AK selected a very strong team based on the world ratings and I believe this is the best team to represent us in Poland,” said Mutwii who is in charge of competitions. 

He said the team will depart for the Polish city on October 15.

“The athletes will continue training individually until we assemble them on October 14 and then they will leave a day later for Poland,” he told People Sport.

Former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau has been appointed as the head coach of the team and will be deputised by Jonathan Biwott.

AK  Western region chairman Patrick Kipsang is the team manager while legendary athlete Catherine Ndereba is the team’s chaperone.

Athletics Kenya entered a team of 10 athletes - five men and five women - for the half marathon.

Shadrack Kimining, who finished third at the Houston Half Marathon in January and Guadalajara Half Marathon in February and Victor Chumo have been left out.

The 2018 world half marathon bronze medallist Pauline Kaveke, Monica Wanjohi and Dorcas Jepchirchir have also been left out.

A total of 157 men and 127 women from 62 teams have been entered for the championships.

World 1,500m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, who also holds the world record for the mile, is one of several standout entries for the women’s race.

The Dutch runner will take on Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh and Kenya’s 2016 world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, who respectively hold the outright and women-only world records for the half marathon.

Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta, who won in Valencia two years ago in a women-only world record time, will defend her world half marathon title.

In one of the highest-quality fields ever for a half marathon, 15 of the men entered have sub-60 minutes PBs and a further 14 have PBs inside 61 minutes.

The 10 fastest women entered have PBs of 1:06:30 or faster, while 21 women in total have sub-69 minutes PBs. 

Area record-holders for Africa, Europe and Asia are also entered.

Athletes must be tested for coronavirus at home between October 8-14 before travelling and then, after arriving at Gdansk Airport in Poland, they must undergo a second test during an October 14-16 time period – with the latter test followed by an estimated six to eight-hour quarantine period for athletes in their hotel bedrooms while they await the results.