Kenya hopes to end 14-year title drought in race at the Worlds

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 24 Jul, 2019 07:32 | 2 mins read
Athletes in 5,000m final, led by Edward Zakayo (468), Vincent Kipkurui (494) during the selections for the Kenya team to the All Africa Games. Photo/DAVID NDOLO

Amos Abuga @PeopleSport11

Africa 5,000m champion Edward Pingua Zakayo was only four years old, the last time Kenya won gold at the world championships.

The Form Three student at Kapsait Athletics Secondary student in Elgeyo-Marakwet County is only told how 44-year-old Benjamin Limo, the winner of the 5,000m race during the Helsinki, Finland, world championships managed the feat.

Zakayo, who won the U20 in Finland last year who will be turning 18 a month after the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar says the country has a realistic chance of ending Kenya’s jinx at the championships.

The over decade dominance in the distance by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele and Britain’s Mohammed Farah, athletes who have since moved to the road races is more reason the Commonwealth bronze winner is optimistic.

“I am happy a crop of young and fearless athletes is coming up in the country ready to ascend to the top of the world,” Zakayo said.

“Just like myself and Stanley Waithaka managed a 1-2 in the 2018 World Under-20 championships in Tampere, Finland. I see a lot of potential in Kenya in general,” said the 17-year-old.

Losing gold to Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, winner of the World U18 championships in Nairobi is perhaps one of the reasons Zakayo is determined not to let it happen again.

“We defeated Barega in Finland to avenge for the 2017 defeat. We cannot deny his star has been rising as well but we are ready for any eventuality,” said Zakayo currently preparing for next month’s All Africa Games in Morocco.

The August 20-22 National Championships-cum-trials for the world championships is yet another avenue Zakayo feels the country will used to gauge their preparedness beyond Bekele-Farah supremacy.

“I know we have had good athletes even in the duration the country has failed to produce gold at the world championships. I think World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge who was second to Bekele in 2007 was maybe unlucky,” added the athlete currently in residential training camp for the African Games.