Kenya came to the Bahamas for the second edition of the IAAF World Relays brimming with confidence and eager to surpass last year’s team records and performance, but their dreams were shattered.
Kenya finished seventh with two silver medals after two nights of high class racing in an electrifying atmosphere at the 15,000-seater, state-of-the-art Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, in Nassau.
The US defended the golden baton after winning seven of the 10 events with two world records under their belt; (men and women distance medleys) as Kenya, who finished third in the last competition with four medals, dropped down to seventh position.
Despite the withdrawal of his star athletes led by 1500m Olympics champion Asbel Kiprop, head coach Sammy Rono believed his new-look team would prove critics wrong.
But that never happened as the team posted a disastrous performance in the event save for the men and women’s distance medley relays where they won their only medals of the competition.
The quartet of Abednego Chesebe, Alphas Kishoyian, Ferguson Rotich and Timothy Cheruiyot, clocked 9:17.20 on Sunday to finish second (silver) behind USA who had broken the world record with 9:15.50.
“As far as I am concerned, we have done well. Most of the elite athletes who were here last year didn’t travel with the team after failing to attend the national trials. It was really difficult to look for them so we had to select the team from those who attended the trials. Elite athletes must come out when we are selecting national teams,” a visibly disappointed Rono told FeverPitch. Kenya had to eat a rather large slice of humble pie that was coupled with baton exchange mishaps and zone violations as they failed to defend their 4x800m title following the team’s disqualification from the race on completion, second behind winners USA, for breaching Rule 170.19.
The third leg exchange between Nicholas Kipkoech and Timothy Kitum that started before the changeover zone cost the homeboys a podium finish on day one with third placed Australia replacing them.
It was the same scenario on Sunday night with the team of Michael Mokamba, Carvin Nkanata, Collins Omae and Pius Muiya being disqualified in the men 4x200m despite finishing first in heat 3, after violating 170.7 before the Kenyan 4x400m men team which finished last in the race was also disqualified.
Earlier on, the Women’s 4x800m team, which won the silver medal in the inaugural competition, had finished last. “These are normal relays and errors are always there. Almost all teams were affected by changeover problems. It was an eye opener and we are going back to drawing board to see what to do,” added Rono.
Courtesy of standardmedia.co.ke