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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya runners wary of Uganda threat at Commonwealth Games

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya must work extra hard in training or risks losing its dominance in long distance races to neighbors Uganda at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4-15.

World Under-18 champion in 3,000m Edward Zakayo has warned that the Ugandans have improved in recent championships and must be taken seriously as they head to Gold Coast for the games.

“The threat of Uganda athletes especially in 5,000m and 10,000m is real. You can’t wish it away,” he said on Wednesday from Eldoret. “We must train harder as a team and plan how we will stop them.”

At the World Championships in London in August, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei stunned Kenyans when he crushed the party on the medal podium claiming the silver medal behind winner Mo Farah of Britain.

Now with Farah out of the Commonwealth Games, Zakayo who will team up with former World Junior 5,000m champion David Bett and Nicholas Kipkorir says Cheptegei stands out as their common enemy.

Uganda has named a team of 24 athletes for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The team is led by Cheptegei, who has been named for both the 5000m and 10,000m and world U20 cross country champion Jacob Kiplimo.

Former world bronze medalist Solomon Mutai is part of a strong marathon team while top names on the women’s side include Dorcus Ajok and Halima Nakaayi (800m), Winnie Nanyondo (1500m) and Mercyline Chelangat (10,000m).

Kenya’s Junior star Rogers Kwemoi will join hands with Jonathan Muia and Josphat Bett in the 10,000m race.

“A Ugandan has won the last three editions of the Commonwealth Games. But we have a strong team and it’s possible to end the drought. We shall need to tighten on our speed in the last lap,” said Bett.

Kenyan women are undefeated in 10,000m, having conquered since Scots Yvonne Murray’s victory at the 1994 Victoria, Canada Games. They have gone to win the next five editions.

           

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