By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s athletics team will not look down upon
their rivals as they seek to dominate the Africa Championships,
which starts in Asaba, Nigeria on Wednesday.
Kenya, which has
named a strong 67-member squad, finalized their training in
Nairobi on Saturday and head coach Stephen Mwaniki believes the
team is in perfect shape to excel at the continental
championships, which are held every two years.
are complete and we are all set to depart on Monday for Nigeria.
However, I have warned the athletes not to look down upon any
team and be on the lookout not to allow complacency to creep
in,” Mwaniki said on Saturday in Nairobi.
“Each country will
be out to win and we have to have our best runners posting some
fast time and claiming the gold medals,” he added.
Mwaniki singled out
Uganda as one of the emerging nations, which will be eyeing to
eat into Kenya’s long and middle distance dominance.
He warned that even
though Uganda’s star Joshua Cheptegei will compete at the
African championships, Kenyan runners must remain focused on the
“Uganda has a strong
team beyond Cheptegei. They live and train with us and if not
careful, they will overtake us in crucial races,” warned Mwaniki.
Cheptegei, a double
gold medalist from the Commonwealth Games has been out of action
after aggravating a knee injury by attempting the double in
Australia last April.
In his absence, the
country will rely on his top female runners Stella Chesang
(Commonwealth champion) and Mercyline Chelangat in the 10,000m
as well as steeplechaser Peruth Chemutai as the best chances for
a medal while Jacob Kiplimo and Stephen Kissa will try to fill
the void on the men’s side
Uganda has named a
20-member team for the championships starting on Aug 1-5 in
However, the team
will also be without World Junior cross country champion Jacob
Kiplimo, Janat Chemusto and Albert Chemutai, who have all pulled
out with injury concerns.
“Three of our
athletes picked up injuries during the IAAF World Under-20
Championships in Finland and have been withdrawn from the team,”
said Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) chairman Dominic Otuchet.
Winners from the
Africa Championships will secure automatic tickets to the IAAF
Continental Cup, which will be held in Ostrava, Czech Republic
from Sept 18-19. There will be teams from Africa, Asia, America