Waithaka upbeat ahead of World Athletics meet in Oregon
The 2018 World Under-20 5,000m silver medallist Stanley Waithaka has described teamwork as a crucial component if the country is to end the decade-long wait for gold in the men’s 10,000m.
For decades now, Kenya has watched in the periphery as their bitter rivals and neighbours, Ethiopia and Uganda continue to dominate the 10,000m at the Olympics and World championships.
Kenya’s first and only Olympic gold in the 10,000m came in 1968 when Naftali Temu triumphed in Mexico City, and Waithaka is hoping to go one better than Paul Tergat and Paul Tanui, who won silver in 2000 and 2016 Olympics respectively.“I will be more than happy to see the Kenyan flag being hoisted for the 10,000m race in Oregon,” said the Japan based athlete.
“Kenya hasn’t posted the best results in 10,000m recently but I believe with team work and early preparations we will be able to achieve good results in Oregon and Club Games in Birmingham,” he said.
Waithaka made the remarks after finishing second in the men’s 10,000m during the trials for the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani recently.
Waithaka who clocked 27:34.01 was only beaten by Kibiwott Kandie who timed 27:33.57.
Waithaka while sharing his enthusiasm after securing qualification to represent Kenya adds he says he is ready for challenge at the global arena.
He said he relishes the chance to fly Kenya’s flag in an international event.
“It does feel great making a comeback to the national team. It has been a minute,” Waithaka said ahead of the World event to be held from July 15 to 24 in Oregon.
“I know what teamwork can do. We employed it at the World under 20 Championships in Tampere, Finland and it bore fruit as we won gold and silver. We can achieve more if we can work as a team,” said Waithaka.
Unfortunately, Kandie who has not attained the qualifying mark for Oregon was not selected in team Kenya for the World championships.
Waithaka will represent the country in the World Championships alongside Daniel Mateiko and Rodgers Kwemoi.
In the Commonwealth Games in In Birmingham, Kenya will be represented by Kandie, Edward Zakayo and Daniel Simiu.
Kenya finished second with 11 medals; five gold, two silver and four bronze during the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships.