by John Kwoba
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympic silver
medalist Julius Yego seeks to revitalize his career and believes
the Africa Games, which will be held in rabat, Morocco will
offer him the platform to restore a winning mentality.
Yego leads a squad of 60 track and field athletes that will
represent the country in the African Games from August 23 to
Kenya won five golds in the last games in Brazzaville, Congo
and they hope to improve on that collection.
Injuries and loss of form have forced the 29-year-old to
limit the number of competition appearances but the Kenyan feels
he has recovered lost fitness and will be looking to contend for
the gold in Morocco.
"For the first time in over four years, I have no injury
"However, I felt some slight pain in my ankle as I was
throwing the javelin, which I believe is a minor setback though,
it will not affect my preparations for the Games," said Yego.
The reigning African javelin champion, threw a leading 78.02
meters with Alexander Kiprotich who managed 74.79 meters the
only other javelin to hit the qualification mark for the
World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech
set a time of 9:26.64 minutes ahead of Mercy Wanjiru (9:28.85)
and Roselyn Chepngetich (9:32.10) to book her ticket to Morocco.
In the corresponding men’s race Benjamin Kigen ran a 8:16.43
ahead of Joash Kiplimo who came in second in 8:21.94 as the duo
earned direct qualification.
"This is important to my budding career.
"I have to be careful not to be over confident because I am
still young and breaking through the senior cadre takes time.
"But I have my strategy going to Morocco, which I hope will
earn me a medal," said Chepkoech.
World Under 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet will team up with
Lilian Kasait in 5,000m at the African Games where World and
Africa Under-20 1,500m champion George Manangoi will be seeking
to follow in the footsteps of his elder brother Elijah Manang’oi,
who holds the World, Commonwealth and Africa 1,500m titles.
Senior Manangoi has opted to give the games a pass this year,
instead letting his younger sibling, George, the chance to take
up the mantle and keep the family name flying high.
"I am plotting my own path in athletics.
"We may be competing in 1,500m race and training together,
but I want to be my own athlete and carve my own path," said
"In Morocco, the pressure will be on me to win and I intend
to do just that."
The 2008 Olympic Games 5000m bronze medalist Edwin Soi
announced his comeback to track as he stunned the Olympic Games
10,000m silver medalist Paul Tanui to stroll to victory in
Kenyan former world 800m
champ seeks ticket to Africa Games
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Veteran Kenyan athlete and former
World 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei has returned to competition
for the first time in four years, eyeing a slot in the Kenya
team to the Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco from August 23 to
Jepkosgei, 35, last competition was back in Beijing World
Championships in 2015 before she took a sabbatical to have her
first baby. She will compete in Nairobi this weekend in
Athletics Kenya trials for Africa Games.
"After the birth, I had this strong bond with my daughter and
it was hard to live her on her own as I ventured into training.
"But I need to return to competition and get the feeling of
running competitively once more and there is no big stage than
the Africa Games to do it," said Jepkosgei on Thursday in
It is exactly 13 years when Jepkosgei, who is nicknamed
Eldoret Express, broke on the world stage and forced Maria
Mutola of Mozambique off the road at the Melbourne Commonwealth
She went on to win gold at the Osaka World Championships in
2007 and scooped silver at Beijing Olympics and Berlin World
Trained by coach Claudio Berardelli in Eldoret, Jepkosgei
said she stepped up her preparations to regain fitness in
January and would relish the challenge from the youngsters out
to secure their tickets to the Africa Games.
She has been training with 2013 Moscow Championships 800m
champion Eunice Sum.
"You never know what will happen," said Jepkosgei. Jepkosgei
will however be running in the 1,500m race.
In the men’s race World Junior 1500 champion George Manangoi
won in the four lap race semis to qualify for African Games
finals in Nairobi.
He will face Africa Junior champion Vincent Keter.
World and Commonwealth 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi and
2018 Diamond League Trophy Winner Timothy Cheruiyot will miss
Top two finishing athletes in the final will qualify from
their respective events to the Games with the panel of selectors
deciding the third entry.
After the trials, Kenya will name 65 athletes to represent
the country at the continental showpiece, where it hopes to
improve on its five gold medal haul from the 2015 games in
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.
Kenyan athletes need
permission to compete at Diamond League meetings
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan athletes selected for the Africa Games
will have to seek special permission to compete in the lucrative
Head coach Julius Kirwa has warned that Kenya is under
pressure to deliver the medals at the Africa Games and will need
its best talent to remain fresh and avoid burn out ahead of the
competition slated for Rabat, Morocco from August 16-30.
"There is pressure on Kenya especially in middle and long
"Uganda, Eritrea and Ethiopia have upped their game.
"The host Morocco will also seek to dominate and this will
eat into our medal haul.
"Therefore, to challenge that, we need our elite runners to
remain fresh and focused on the task ahead," said Kirwa on
Tuesday in Nairobi.
In the last games held in Brazzaville, Congo in 2015, Nigeria
topped the medals standings with 21 medals, 10 gold, six silver
and five bronze ahead of Ethiopia in second with 20 (6-7-7)
while Kenya settled for third place with 17 medals, five gold,
five silver and seven bronze.
"We need to return to the top and athletics has been our best
"That is why we must have our best talent in right frame of
mind to scope the medals," said Kirwa.
Coach Kirwa says he is confident with the team selected for
the games as they have the quality and experience to fight for
Kenya has selected 61 athletes for the games, which are
viewed as a mini-Olympics.
"I have had to lead teams with less quality and I believe the
difference is in the focus and concentration.
"They can achieve anything they set their minds on and we
need to help them attain their optimal best.
"Some of these athletes are returning from injuries and need
to shake off their rust.
"It will be good if they immerse themselves in training and
hope to stun the continent in Morocco," he added.
Kirwa, one of the country’s most successful coaches having
guided Kenya in 2008 and 2012 Olympics, is optimistic the team
will deliver medals in August.
"The quality of the team is okay and there’s no worry about
"When we go to camp, we must put our thoughts together,
athletes and coaches alike because to succeed, we must be
"We will mold them pretty well to give us impressive
performances in Morocco.
"Athletes will give permission to compete in the Diamond
League series based on the duration that we will train," added
Athletics Kenya vice president in charge of competitions Paul
Mutwii believes with good show in Morocco, Kenya will be on the
right course to dominate at the World Championships, which will
be held in Doha, Qatar in October.
Foreign teams from Malawi,
Zambia and DRC compete in regional CECAFA Cup
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Zambia, Malawi and Democratic Republic
of Congo will send teams to join other 11 member States of the
Council of East and central Africa Football Association (CECAFA)
for this year’s regional Kagame Cup.
Nicholas Musonye, CECAFA Secretary General, confirmed that
Tanzanian clubs Simba and Yanga have opted out of the 16-team
tournament, which starts in Kigali, Rwanda from July 6-21.
"It is unfortunate that some Tanzanian clubs are giving the
tournament a bye.
"We will not miss them.
"Let them go.
"They will fail to utilize the opportunity to have their
players gain experience against some top teams from the region.
"We are not bothered nor moved by their exit," Musonye said
on Monday in Nairobi.
CECAFA has teams from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda,
Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Zanzibar, Somalia, Djibouti and
Musonye however said the void left by the two Tanzanian teams
will be filled by the foreign teams that have been invited.
Already Malawi’s Big Bullets, Zesco United of Zambia, DRC’s
AS Vita and Motema Pemba have confirmed participation in the
tournament as guest teams.
The annual club tournament returns after it was shelved last
year owing to logistical challenges and lack of funding.
This year’s tournament will be funded by Rwanda president
with a prize purse of 60,000 U.S. dollars.
Kenya will be represented by two teams - Gor Mahia who
finished third in the last edition held in Dar es Salaam and
"We shall spread the matches in Kigali City, Rubavu and Huye
Districts to enable the citizens of Rwanda and neighboring
countries attend the match in the stadium and watch matches
Live," added Musonye.
Defending champions Azam SC and KMC will represent Tanzania
with Uganda will sending KCCA and Proline.
Rayon Sport and Apr represent Rwanda, Somali’s Heegan, Ports
of Djibouti and Zanzibar’s KMKM will be the other participating
The tournament will offer the teams a platform to gauge their
preparedness ahead of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF)
Champions League and Confederations Cup which are due in August.
Four countries to
represent Africa at volleyball World Cup in Japan
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya, Egypt, Cameroon and Tunisia
have been confirmed to represent Africa in this year’s
volleyball World Cup, which will be held in Japan in September.
Kenya and Cameroon will compete in the women’s competition
while Egypt and Tunisia will enter teams in the men’s edition.
However, world volleyball governing body, FIVB says this
year’s competition will not be part of the Olympic qualification
Kenya Volleyball Federation vice chairman Charles Nyaberi
says the team has resumed training one week after winning the
Zone Five Africa championships in Kampala.
Nyaberi stated that he hopes they will continue to polish
their skills under Italian coach Shailen Ramdoo.
"We have a busy program and we need our best talent on show.
"Alongside the World Cup, we have to focus on the Olympic
qualification," said Nyaberi on Monday in Nairobi.
The World Cup will feature, for each gender, hosts Japan, the
reigning world champions, plus the top two teams from each
continental confederation according to the FIVB World Rankings.
Kenya and Cameroon are the top ranked in women while Egypt
and Tunisia lead the men’s rankings.
The women’s competition will run from September 14 to 29,
followed by the men’s event from October 1 to 15.
The 12 participating teams will be involved in a single
round-robin competition over 11 match days, with one single
ranking per gender.
Three games will be played at the same venue for each match
The Women’s World Cup will start with the group stage in
Yokohama and Hamamatsu over five match days, before the teams
travel to Sapporo and Toyama for three more matches.
The competition will wrap up in Osaka.
Last time around, China claimed women’s gold, followed by
Serbia and the U.S.
The U.S. dominated the men’s competition, with Italy taking
silver and Poland bronze.
Kenya will also face Italy, who finished second at the World
Championships, the Netherlands and Belgium in the
Intercontinental Olympic qualifying tournament that will be
played in Italy from August 2 to 4.
Ramdoo will use the Olympic qualifiers and the Africa Games
(Morocco) to gauge his players’ progress before heading to Japan
for the volleyball World Cup.
Ramdoo has called up youngster Gladys Ekaru to the 14 member
women’s volleyball squad that begins training in Nairobi for the
July 5-15 African Nations Cup in Cairo, Egypt.
"Good response and progress from the players after our
sessions hit the peak and the training is going on pretty well
and we can only hope for the best going forward," said Ramdoo.
Ekaru, alongside experienced duo of Elizabeth Wanyama and
Brackcides Agala and the much improved Joy Lusaneka were not
part of the team that recently participated at the All Africa
Games qualifiers in Uganda.
Jane Wacu who is away with club Anse Royale in Seychelles
remains a doubt as she has not been included in the training
Kenya women’s 15s rugby
team eyes WC after beating Uganda in Elgon Cup
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya rugby teams hope their mixed results will
inspire better performance on the return fixtures of the 2019
Elgon Cup even as the women side eyes qualification to the World
Kenya’s Lionesses easily dispatched Uganda’s She Cranes 42-13
in the first leg in Kisumu but the men’s team Simbas lost
narrowly 16-13 to Uganda.
Kenya Lionesses head coach Felix Oloo warned his players to
expect tough competition on return leg in Uganda.
"The girls put in an excellent performance.
"However, the race is not over.
"We must finish the job in Uganda and pick the positives,"
Despite the recent positive results, the Kenyan women will
have to travel to South Africa and beat the rugby superpower on
home soil as well as Uganda and Madagascar to book their places
at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand in 2021.
In the men’s Elgon Cup tie, which Africa Rugby is using as
part of the Victoria Cup tournament, also has teams from
Zimbabwe and Zambia.
"It is not easy for us to lose at home.
"But despite the loss, the performance of the team was
"We had nine debutants and some teenagers who fought
gallantly," said Paul Odera, the men’s team head coach.
Odera refused to throw in the towel and says Kenya will take
their battle to Kampala oozing confidence and hope to turn the
screws on their hosts.
However, the coach has called on senior players to show some
grit and steel to help the youngsters break into the team and
"We need experience ahead of the return leg in Kampala,
Uganda next month.
"We will overturn the scores and head to Zimbabwe and Zambia
sharper and focused," said the coach.
Simbas captain Peter Kilonzo rued the loss and wants more
from his teammates as they head to Kampala on July 13.
"We must tighten our game and play more compact before we
head to Kampala where we expect to win," said Kilonzo.
Uganda’s coach Robert Seguya warned his charges that it’s not
the end promising that his team will worker 10 times harder in
"The game is still open.
"Kenya is wounded but I hope lifting the trophy at home will
be an extra motivation for my team.
"The mountain is getting higher and higher which is good for
rugby," said Seguya.
Kenyan World marathon
champion Eliud Kipchoge
focuses on INEOS 1:59 Challenge to write history
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
World marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge said on
Thursday that he has started training in order to be fit to
battle the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
This will be the second attempt for the 34-year-old to beat
the odds and run the marathon distance in under two hours as the
"I think a good career is where you give yourself a challenge
every now and then and so I think it is high time for me to try
another challenge by beating the two-hour mark," said Kipchoge
In 2017, Kipchoge missed 26 seconds from his initial attempt
to break the two-hour mark as he clocked in two hours and 25
seconds in his "Breaking Two" project on Italy’s Monza motor
Now he has shelved plans to compete at the World
Championships or defend his Berlin marathon title to focus on
running to break the two-hour mark in a bid sponsored by British
manufacturing company INEOS.
It will take place on an unspecified flat loop circuit venue
in London, on a date to be decided in October.
"INEOS Challenge is a noble course, it’s a historic challenge
where I am going to make history.
"Many ideologies have been said that no human can break the
"But personally, I have dared to try for the first time and I
missed by 26 seconds.
"Now I have a rich experience from Monza and am confident
that I will beat the mark because our training program is
different from the other training," said Kipchoge.
Indeed, the Olympic champion has had two months of total rest
after winning the London marathon in a world record time of
He has started his training with gym sessions for two weeks
in late May and has moved to high altitude training camp in
Kaptagat for the full preparation.
"Our training has started again.
"When we finished the season, we have four days of running
slowly to recover and then three weeks of total rest and then we
"When your mind is relaxed and fit, the physical part can go
on as usual.
"When we start we start at zero and we need three -four month
to be fit again for another marathon," said Kipchoge.
His longtime physiotherapist Peter Nduhio, who is now part of
INEOS 1:59 Challenge team, said he is amazed by Kipchoge’s
ability to remain focused despite challenges in his life.
"Eliud keeps on setting the bar higher.
"Each time he makes us climb the ladder higher.
"His best season was 2018, now he has a new challenge and he
will attain it," said Nduhio.
"What makes this challenge inspirational is that it has no
template to follow."