Missing in action

By Amos Abuga
Thursday, April 29th, 2021
Hellen Syombua (right) wins the women 400m finals ahead of Gladys Musyoki during Athletics Kenya sprint events in February. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO
In summary

National 400m record holder Hellen Syombua and fast rising Zablon Ekwam are the big absentees as team Kenya touched down in Poland yesterday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s World Relay Championships in Silesia.

The team of 30 athletes and six officials left the country at 11.50pm Tuesday  aboard a KLM flight via Amsterdam for the global event.

The technical bench will now have to make changes especially in the 4x400m mixed relay team that also saw United States-based Emmanuel Korir and Emmanuel Mutua dropped.

“It is true the team has been weakened because those are top athletes, who could have made us more competitive. Now.

The coaches will pick from team captain Aaron Koech, Eglay Nalianya, Sylvia Chesebe, Mary Moraa and Stanley Kieti. They are equally strong,” said team manager Kennedy Tanui.

Ekwam, the fastest man in the country this season in 400m was due to feature in the the 4x400m team that is now left with Kevin Kiprotich, William Rayan, Daniel Sanayek and Jared Momanyi.

“I believe the team is still more than capable of producing good results,” added Tanui.

Syombua who was part of the 4x400m mixed relay team that claimed bronze medal at the 2019 Yokohama World Relay Championships, the only medal the country got, was dejected to have been left out on medical grounds.

“I will not be put down for not making to the relays team. On the contrary, I will continue to work hard because I have the Tokyo Olympics Games to prepare for.

It is a disappointment, which I will take positively,” Syombua said. The sprinter was among the among six athletes and two officials left out of team Kenya that left the country on Tuesday night.

Kipkorir Rotich and Evangeline Makena, alongside head coach Steven Mwaniki and one of his  deputies Geoffrey Macharia did not travel with the team.

With the changes in the technical bench, William Murgor took over as the head coach from Mwaniki and has Shirley Kalunda and Esther Kavaya as his deputies.

Makena was to feature in the women’s 4x200m event.  The team now has Maximilla Imali, Doreen Waka, Monica Safania and Susan Nyambura.

Rotich was to field in the shuttle relay team that has Priscilla Tabunda, Vanice Kerubo, Rukia Nasra, Wiseman Were and Michael Musyoka.

“Remember, Kenya’s shuttle team is already in the medal bracket. The athlete are only aiming for a better medal with only three teams Kenya, Germany and Poland having registered for the event,” explained Tanui.