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Kenyan team to athletics worlds was youngest

22 August 2013, 14:02

Nairobi - The team that represented Kenya to this year's IAAF World Championships in Athletics which was held in Moscow has been described as "team of the future".

Benjamin Njoga who was the Kenyan team manager to the championships told Xinhua Thursday in Nairobi that the team's performance was no mean achievement by any standards considering they were racing against the best in the world.

"The team was the youngest ever for Kenya to present at the world championships and with very little international exposure. I knew the going would be challenging, but I had high expectations considering the preparations and input the technical unit had inculcated into the team," the team manager said.

"I had a lot of hope and aspirations on the team as much as the responsibility was much on them, and they did not disappoint."

Kenya ranked fourth overall after Russia, the United States and Jamaica with a haul of five gold, four silver and three bronze medals.

Njoga said that out of the 48 athletes Kenya presented at the event, 28 of them made it to the finals out of which 12 were in the medal bracket.

He attributed the team's performance to high standards of discipline, commitment, dedication, teamwork and a great sense of purpose as well as team management.

He said the team bonded well contrary to suggestions from some quarters in athletics circles that there existed bad blood between the gold medal winner in the 3,000m steeplechase Ezekiel Kemboi and his runners-up Conseslus Kipruto which made them not to do a joint lap of honor.

"I told Kipruto that he should have honored the spectators with a lap of honor like other athletes. He apologized profusely and attributed it to fatigue and confusion after the grueling race," Njoga.

"His was a case of underestimation of the positive impact of a lap of honor caused by inadequate international exposure."

Former 3,000m world champion and world record holder Moses Kiptanui was quoted in the local press that Kipruto's action was a snub on the triumph Kemboi, who is Kiptanui's protege.

Njoga, who also managed the Kenyan team to the Berlin World Championships in 2009, said the athletes were really in a class of their own in terms of focus and commitment.

"The Berlin team consisted of some of the big names in athletics with vast experience. However, this year's highly youthful team proved their worth."

Kenya's best ever performance at the world championships remains the 2011 outing in Daegu where the country won a record seven gold, six silver and four bronze medals.

- Xinhua


WRAP: English Premiership

24 October 2016, 07:16

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