Kenya names strong squad for world championships

Defending champions have named a strong squad for the 2017 World athletics championships. Plenty of new names intermixed with veterans. Since Kenya won seven gold medals last time, a number of athletes received an automatic slot in the championships without having to qualify. These include David Rudisha, Ezekiel Kemboi, Hyvin Kiyeng, Asbel Kiprop, Nicholas Bett and Julius Yego. Of these, Yego was the only one to participate in the trials.

Hellen Obiri who recently broke the Kenya 5000m record, is in the best form of her life and will challenge for gold in that event. She will have to contend with Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia who is going for revenge having been beaten by Kenyans at the 2016 Olympics.

Olympic gold medalist Faith Kipyegon is also in dominant form and will be competing with Genzebe Dibaba who is also looking for a measure of revenge.

In the women’s steeplechase, new sensation Cellphine Chespol, who broke the Kenya record despite losing her shoe in Eugene, starts in a strong position and will be competing with Kenyan defector Ruth Jebet.

A new cadre of newbies who have run sensational times will be depended on for medals including Ronald Kwemoi, Cyrus Rutto and Timothy Cheruiyot.

The steeplechase will be manned by vastly experienced runners. Besides Kemboi there us Brimin Kipruto who has represented Kenya for fourteen years plus Jairus Birech and Olympic gold medalist Conseslus Kipruto.

The women’s 10,000m will see another new find Agnes Tirop lead the charge, accompanied by world cross country champion Irene Cheptai and All Africa games champion Alice Aprot.

In the men’s 10,000m, world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor will be back with Bedan Kaloki as they try again to wrest the title from Mo Farah.

Kenya rarely sends sprinters to these games. It is refreshing to see Mark Otieno compete in the 200m. The effervescent Otieno recently broke the Kenya 100m record with a time of 10.14. .


Men’s 400m Hurdles: Haron Koech, Kiprono Kosgei, Nicholas Bett

Women’s 10,000m: Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai, Alice Aprot

Men’s 200m: Mark Otieno

Women’s 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo

Men’s 5000m: Cyrus Ruto, David Kiplagat

Women’s 400m: Maximilla Imali

Men’s 400m: Raymond Kibet, Alphas Kishioyan, Collins Omae

Men’s Javelin: Julius Yego

Men’s 1500m: Ronald Kwemoi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Asbel Kiprop

Women’s 1500m: Faith Chepn’getich, Winnie Chebet

Women’s 3000m steeplechase: Cellphine Chepsol, Beatrice Chepkoech, Purity Kirui, Hyvin Kiyeng

Men’s 3,00m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Birmin Kipruto, Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi

Women’s 800m: Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emily Cherotich

Men’s 800m: Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett, Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich, David Rudisha

Triple jump: Elijah Kimitei

Men’s walk race: Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira

Women’s race walk: Grace Wanjiru

Men’s Marathon: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer

Women’s marathon: Edna Kiplagat, Hela Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech


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Mark Otieno sets new Kenya 100m record

New sprint sensation, Mark Otieno, sliced nine hundreths of a second from the Kenya national 100m record when he clocked 10.14 seconds to win the Kenya national athletics championships. The previous record was set by Mike Mokamba Nyangau at 10.23 seconds.

On the same day Otieno clocked 20.40 seconds to win the 200m, beating the World Championships qualifying mark of 20.44. Teammate Dennis Otieno finished second in 20.64 with Charles Wamwea from Kenya Defence Forces wrapping up the last podium place in 20.82.

“This is the best feeling and I can’t wait to make my maiden appearance at the World Championships,” said Otieno

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Maximilla Imali breaks 33 year old 400m record.

Kenya Police runner Maximilla Imali, broke the national women’s 400 metres record at the 2017 Kenya National Athletics championships. Her time of 51.18 sliced almost half a second off the previous record that was set by Ruth Waithera at the 1984 Olympics where Waithera reached the final. In the process Waithera who was on scholarship at the University of Arizona, became the only Kenyan female sprinter to reach an Olympic final.

Waithera’s record had been broken twice, first by Elizabeth Muthuka in 2008 and again by Joy Sakari in 2015. Both were disqualified after failing drug tests.

Imali reached the final of the 800m at the 2014 World Under-20 and also ran in the 2017 world relay championships. Her new time qualifies her for the 2017 world athletics championships.

Though she has broken Waithera’s record, Imali has a long way to go before emulating Waithera who won a bronze medal at the Africa athletics championships in 1979 before reaching the Olympic final in 1984.

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Obiri sets new Kenya 5000m record

Olympic Silver medalist Hellen Obiri, who only switched to the 5000m last season, set a New Kenya record in 14:18.37 . It is the fastest time in the world since 2015 and it makes Obiri the fifth fastest woman in history over the 5000m

“I train with men,” she says. “We have a lot of groups in Kenya, but I like to train with men because they’re good to push hard.”

And Obiri did it all by herself. Genzebe Dibaba who was expected to push the pace, did not challenge Obiri.

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Kenya results at the 2017 London sevens

Group Stage

Kenya 10 South Africa 12
Tries: B Odhiambo, N Oyoo

Kenya 0 USA 47

Kenya 28 Wales 17
Tries: D Ombachi, NO Oyoo, D Kinyangi, D Mayar Dulo
Cons: E Agero (2) L Ligamy S Oliech

Challenge Trophy Quarter-Finals

Kenya 33 Spain 7
Tries: A Amonde , E Agero, LB Odhiambo , BS Mwale ,D Mayar Dulo
Cons: Agero(3), Oliech

Challenge Trophy Semi-Finals

Kenya 5 Fiji 45
Tries: Ombachi


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Incredible performances by Kenyans at Pre-Fontaine Classic

There were earth Shattering performances by Kenyan distance runners at the 2017 PreFontaine classic at Hayward field in Oregon USA. Most notable was newcomer Celliphine Chespol.

Chespol Stuns with world junior record


Eighteen year old Celliphine Chespol stunned the gathered crowd with a performance for the ages. She won on commanding fashion, clocking 8:58.78 which is the second fastest time in history, the fastest time of 2017 and a new world youth record. And she accomplished this despite having to stop and adjust her shoes after the water jump.

Three weeks ago in Shanghai, Chespol showed her potential when she challenged Olympic Champion Ruth Jebet and world champion Hyvin Kiyeng. On Friday at Hayward field, Chespol finally announced her arrival. She gives Kenya real hope of winning gold at this event at the 2017 world championships. Prior to the Pre-Fontaine race, Ruth Jebet, who is now running for Bahrain had been the strong favourite.

Beatrice Chepkoech was second in an impressive time of 9:00.70 which rockets her to fifth in the all time list. Kenya now has a very strong cadre of female steeplechasers.

Race Video

Race Results

1 Celliphine Chepteek Chespol  KEN 8:58.78
2 Beatrice Chepkoech  KEN 9:00.70
3 Ruth Jebet  BRN 9:03.52
4 Emma Coburn  USA 9:07.96
5 Courtney Frerichs  USA 9:19.09
6 Purity Cherotich Kirui  KEN 9:20.07
7 Gesa Felicitas Krause  GER 9:20.32
8 Stephanie Garcia  USA 9:25.04
9 Geneviève Lalonde  CAN 9:33.95
10 Mel Lawrence  USA 9:39.32
Caroline Chepkurui Tuigong  KEN DNF


Ronald Kwemoi with an impressive win in the mile

Ronald Kwemoi won the Bowerman mile in impressive fashion, beating a string field that included heavyweights like Asbel Kiprop, Elijah Manangoi, Silas Kiplagat and Ayanleh Souleiman. Kenyans occupied the top four positions. The only question for Kwemoi now is whether he should focus on the mile or the 5000m. He has recorded impressive performances in both events.

Race Video


1 Ronald Kwemoi  KEN 3:49.04 8
2 Elijah Motonei Manangoi  KEN 3:49.08 7
3 Timothy Cheruiyot  KEN 3:49.64 6
4 Vincent Kibet  KEN 3:51.17 5
5 Clayton Murphy  USA 3:51.99 4
6 Abdalaati Iguider  MAR 3:52.77 3
7 Ben Blankenship  USA 3:53.04 2
8 Filip Ingebrigtsen  NOR 3:53.23 1
9 Bethwell Kiprotich Birgen  KEN 3:53.50
10 Charlie Grice  GBR 3:53.62
11 Ryan Gregson  AUS 3:56.90
12 Silas Kiplagat  KEN 3:57.59
13 Asbel Kiprop  KEN 3:58.24
Elijah Kipchirchir Kiptoo  KEN DNF
Andrew Kiptoo Rotich  KEN DNF
Ayanleh Souleiman  DJI DNF


Kipyegon wins in commanding fashion

Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon was quite simply peerless in the women’s 1500m. She broke away from the field with 200 metres to go and the rest of the field had no answer. Behind her, Hellen Obiri made a late charge to beat Laura Muir of Great Britain and grab second place.

Race Video

Race Results

1 Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon  KEN 3:59.67
2 Hellen Onsando Obiri  KEN 4:00.46
3 Laura Muir  GBR 4:00.47
4 Rababe Arafi  MAR 4:01.75
5 Gudaf Tsegay  ETH 4:01.78
6 Brenda Martinez  USA 4:03.56
7 Kate Grace  USA 4:03.59
8 Jennifer Simpson  USA 4:04.16
9 Shannon Rowbury  USA 4:04.61
10 Sofia Ennaoui  POL 4:05.74
11 Shelby Houlihan  USA 4:06.43
12 Linden Hall  AUS 4:07.37
13 Laura Weightman  GBR 4:10.50
Dana Mecke  USA DNF

Margaret Wambui with an impressive effort

Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Wambui Nyairera, pushed South Africa’s Caster Semenya much more than any other athlete has. In the end, Semenya won in 1:57.78 while Wambui was only 10 hundreths of a second behind.

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Kenya Results at the 2017 Paris Sevens

Dennis Ombachi in action against Argentina at the 2017 Paris sevens

Group Stage:

Kenya 14 – France 22
Tries: LB Odhiambo, FL Wanyama
Conversions: Oliech(2)

Kenya 26 Spain 14
Tries: A Amonde, E Agero, LB Odhiambo, D Ombachi
Conversions: Oliech(2), Agero

Kenya 12 England 12
Tries: D Ombachi, FL Wanyama
Conversions: Oliech

Challenge Cup Semi-Final

Kenya 7 Argentina 12
Tries: Oyoo
Conversion: Agero

13th Place Semi-Final

Kenya 7 Russia 15
Tries: Oliech
Conversion: Oliech


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Faith Kipyegon, Obiri and Bett shine in Shanghai

For a second straight week, Kenyan runners showed their dominance in the middle and long distance events of the 2017 Diamond League. Helen Obiri, Faith Kipyegon and Kipyegon Bett were the winners. Hyvin Kiyeng finished second in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. The Kenyan duo of Nicholas Bett and Harun Koech once again showed their lack of consistency, finishing in th 7th and 8th position respectively.

19 year old Kipyegon Bett  beats a strong field

Kipyegon Bett who is listed at age 19, won the men’s 800m , showing the rest of the field a clean pair of heels, to win in convicing fashion.  Kenyans occupied the top five positions. Robert Biwott finished second. Biwott has been trying his hand in the 1500m but the 800m is clearly his best position. David Rudisha finished a distant fourth.

1 Kipyegon Bett  KEN 1:44.70 8
2 Robert Kiptoo Biwott  KEN 1:45.15 7
3 Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich  KEN 1:45.17 6
4 David Lekuta Rudisha  KEN 1:45.36 5
5 Alfred Kipketer  KEN 1:45.40 4
6 Adam Kszczot  POL 1:45.45 3
7 Marcin Lewandowski  POL 1:45.87 2
8 Brandon McBride  CAN 1:46.40 1
9 Thijmen Kupers  NED 1:46.84
10 Casimir Loxsom  USA 1:49.44
11 Dashan Zhang  CHN 1:51.95
Bram Som  NED DNF

Faith Kipyegon dominant

Olympic Gold Medalist, Faith Kipyegon, picked up where she left off in 2016. She won the women’s 800m also in dominant fashion.
1 Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon  KEN 3:59.22 8
2 Dawit Seyaum  ETH 4:00.52 7
3 Besu Sado  ETH 4:03.10 6
4 Rababe Arafi  MAR 4:04.94 5
5 Malika Akkaoui  MAR 4:05.83 4
6 Angelika Cichocka  POL 4:06.23 3
7 Claudia Bobocea  ROU 4:06.33 2
8 Katie Mackey  USA 4:07.15 1
9 Maureen Koster  NED 4:07.38
10 Alemaz Samuel  ETH 4:07.41
11 Linden Hall  AUS 4:07.59
12 Jenny Blundell  AUS 4:07.72
13 Margherita Magnani  ITA 4:09.65
14 Cory McGee  USA 4:09.94
15 Xiaoqian Zhong  CHN 4:20.23
Jennifer Meadows  GBR DNF

Personal Best for Obiri

Olympic silver medalist Helen Obiri, won the women’s 5000m in dominant fashion and in the process set a new personal best

1 Hellen Onsando Obiri  KEN 14:22.47 8
2 Senbere Teferi  ETH 14:31.76 7
3 Letesenbet Gidey  ETH 14:36.84 6
4 Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi  KEN 14:45.95 5
5 Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui  KEN 14:51.87 4
6 Sofia Assefa  ETH 14:56.37 3
7 Sentayehu Lewetegn  ETH 15:08.57 2
8 Mercyline Chelangat  UGA 15:09.45 1
9 Etenesh Diro  ETH 15:09.49
10 Tsige Abreha  ETH 15:18.32
11 Haftamnesh Tesfay  ETH 15:20.71
12 Gesa Felicitas Krause  GER 15:24.53
13 Jip Vastenburg  NED 15:47.97
Calli Thackery  GBR DNF
Tamara Tverdostup  UKR DNF
Sifan Hassan  NED DNS


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Congratulations on a friendly and peaceful Mashemeji derby

The first leg of the 2017 derby pitting Kenya’s top two sides, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia passed without incident. Not only was the match incident free but also the fans of both sides maintained a friendly atmosphere before and after the match, at the stadium and on the streets.

At halftime, fans of both sides jogged and danced around the stadium together. Those of us who watched this event in the 1990s would tell you that such scenes were impossible back then.

The is precisely the kind of publicity the Kenya Premier League needs. Sports Minister Hassan Wario is always quick to admonish fans of these teams because it is politically convenient. He should now take this opportunity to congratulate both sets of fans. And the people in charge of the league and the clubs should seize upon this opportunity to attract more fans to the stadium.


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Employ the KPL CEO on a performance contract

When Supersport stopped televising the Kenya Premier League, they cited breach of contract as their primary reason. They claimed that they were promised a 16 team league yet KPL is now an 18 team league. They also claim that KPL was the only body warranted by FIFA to run football. None of these hold water.

According to the East African Standard, the primary reason Supersport has quit is that they had banked on the KPL to attract other entities who could advertise on the channel to enable it to recoup the huge investment. But this was not forthcoming.

The ability to attract sponsors is a core responsibility of a league like the KPL. The very survival of the league depends on it. And sponsors will come on board if the league is popular. The KPL has existed for about a decade now and one is hard pressed to think of any initiatives that the league has taken to popularize itself. In fact the attendance has been decreasing since its peak in 2011 and 2012.

The rise of the English Premier League

Using England as an example, prior to the advent of the English Premier league, the top league in England was known as the English first division and was run by the English Football Association (FA). The clubs took control of the league in the early 1990s and renamed it the English Premier League (EPL). They then appointed competent business people to run and market the league. These were people with corporate experience in marketing and sales. Through excellent marketing and business decisions, it has now established it self as one of the wealthiest entities in not just soccer but all sports across the globe.

Back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the English league was a non-factor in Kenya. Few in Kenya used to watch it. And those who did watch European football, preferred Football made in Germany and the Italian league. Most fans however watched the Kenyan league, then known as KNFL. Perhaps this is why crowd attendance for Kenyan league matches was so much higher back then. But once the EPL unleashed their marketing machine, fans started slowly trickling away from local leagues to the EPL. And by 2000, the drift had become a deluge that drowned the Kenyan league which at the time was poorly run.

During the 1980s, attendance of local matches was immense


What makes a good League CEO?

In Kenya, KPL apparently has only one full time employee (the CEO). Therefore the task of attracting sponsors and bringing new fans falls on the CEO. It is not clear what the current CEO’s qualifications are. Ideally the KPL CEO would be a well spoken person with a genial personality who is willing to go around the country promoting the league, giving numerous interviews on radio and TV to promote the league. Have a presence on social media to interact with fans.

Ideally the CEO would be a person with corporate connections who can meet with corporate CEOs and negotiate sponsorships for the various KPL organized tournaments like the Top 8 or the youth tournament. It would need to be a persuasive person who can speak to corporate types intelligently and sell them on why they should do business with the KPL.

Gaining Government Support

One of the reasons the Supersport left Kenya is because the static Government failed to put measures in place to safeguard the heavy investment by SuperSport despite the firm’s concerted efforts to keenly engage them in their operations (inviting the Head of State to open its studios as an example).

A key component of the KPL CEO’s job is to meet and persuade government officials that a healthy KPL is good for the country. KPL provides employment to hundreds of players, some of whom would resort to crime if they did not have football. But KPL also provides employment to journalists, camera-persons, football analysts, sound engineers, lighting experts and riggers besides support staff such as drivers, crew managers and make-up artistes. Therefore a country with a high unemployment rate like Kenya needs a healthy KPL.

The KPL CEO would need to make this argument to the top government officials including the president and his cabinet. The current sports minister often appears hell bent on ranting about hooliganism involving Gor Mahia fans because it is politically convenient. Rather than bash the club which has little control over its fans, the minister ought to work with KPL to put in measures that can address hooliganism. A competent KPL CEO should be able to convince the government that helping secure a stadium and its environs is better than simply bashing a club for political reasons.

But the KPL CEO also needs to work with governors and MPs to convince them to upgrade their stadia which host KPL matches. Better stadia with better facilities especially seats and clean well maintained lavatories will attract fans. One of the biggest impediments to attracting fans is the poor condition of most of our stadia. Thika stadium is a classic example of a poorly maintained stadium which if renovated could attract significantly more fans for both football and rugby and end up paying for itself.

Diplomatic Skills

The current KPL CEO has a history of antagonism. In past years he was especially had a lot of animosity for certain clubs and club officials. Of late KPL has been unable to reach timely agreements with the Federation in charge of Football, thus resulting in long drawn out turf battles and wrangles that discourage sponsors.

Performance Metrics for a CEO

His pay should be based on metrics and targets such as:

1. Attendance: Higher attendance from the previous year should result in a larger pay.
2. Sponsorships: More sponsors or more lucrative sponsorship deals should result in more pay.
3. TV ratings.
4. Size of TV contract
5. Stadium Safety and security.

If a CEO is unable to improve on these metrics from year to year then for the sake of all league stakeholders and employees, it might be time to seek a new CEO.

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