Korir nods to chosen teammates for England
Long-distance runner Jonathan Korir says he is contented with Kenya’s marathon team for the Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England.
Over a month after the team of eight road racers was named by Athletics Kenya (AK), the athletes were handed over to the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and they are expected to intensify their training program.
NOC-K Secretary-General Francis Mutuku said the selected team will train at their bases for the next 30 days before convening at a central camp.
Korir who finished second at the Enschede Marathon last year said the potential in the team is high and therefore Kenya is not sending a weakened team to Birmingham.
“If you look at the times posted by the athletes in various races, you can attest this is not a second-string team, we have raced in different high-profile races and performed well,” said Korir who finished fourth at the 2021 Amsterdam Marathon.
The 35-year-old who trains with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge at Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat, is the fastest in the men’s team with a personal best of 2:04.32 set at the Dutch capital last year.
“We are grateful to have been selected for this team and we shall not disappoint,” added Korir.
Also in the men’s team is Philemon Katherine, who finished third at Valencia Marathon last year, Eric Kiptanui and Michael Githare as a reserve.
The women’s team for the Commonwealth Games comprises 2020 Los Angeles Marathon winner Margaret Wangare, 2019 Standard Chartered Bank Nairobi Marathon champion Purity Changwony and 2021 Rotterdam Marathon champion Stella Barsosio. Viola Cheptoo is a reserve.
“We want to promise you that we shall come back with the medals, and not only the gold, but we shall fight for a clean sweep,” said a fired-up Wangare.
AK Senior Vice-President Paul Mutwii while handing over the team to NOC-K said the federation is upbeat with the team selected.
“Athletics Kenya has always sent a strong team to the Commonwealth Games and more often than not, most medals - sometimes all medals - are won by our athletes,” Mutwii said.
“We enjoy a good relationship with NOC-K and wanted to make sure we give them the best team so that preparations can start early,” he added.
NOC-K President Paul Tergat, a track, cross country and marathon legend, thanked AK for handing over the team early and urged the athletes to maintain discipline.
“I’ve been there before, wearing national colours comes with special responsibilities and I urge you to focus on your careers first and other things will follow,” Tergat said.
He also urged the athletes to train clean, run clean and avoid taking shortcuts to success.
“We will give you the necessary support and ensure your allowances are paid in time,” Tergat said.
starting from today, and that you get all the kits that you need,” Tergat said.
Delays are a thing of the past,” said Tergat.
Also present at the ceremony were NOC-K executive committee member and AK’s head of the youth committee Barnaba Korir, the Commonwealth Games athletics team manager Samson Katam, AK athlete’s representative Milcah Chemos and the pool of coaches led by Patrick Sang and David Letting.