Questionable selection dooms Kenya’s marathon chances

The 2015 world athletics championships started today (August 22) in Beijing China. Much was expected from Kenya’s marathon squad given that it comprised the current world record holder , Dennis Kimetto and the previous world record holder Wilson Kipsang who had recently done well at the highly competitive London marathon, running ultra fast teams in a Kenyan sweep. And there was Mark Korir who had won the Paris Marathon earlier this year.

In the end, Korir finished 22nd with a time of 2: 21.20 minutes while Kimetto and Kipsang dropped out. The winner was Eritrean Ghirmay Ghebreslassie who clocked 2:12.28. Three Ugandans finished in the top 10 including the bronze medalist.

The slow times were due to the intense heat and humidity of Beijing. Which brings us to the reason for Kenya’s poor performance. Marathoners typically do well in certain climatic conditions and on certain terrains. Some excel in cool conditions, some in heat and humidity, some on hilly terrain etc.

Neither Kimetto nor Kipsang nor Korir have proven that they can run well in heat and humidity. The London and Berlin marathons in which they have excelled are typically run in mild conditions with no humidity and sometimes rain.

Kipsang and Kimetto

The marathon is a gruelling, demanding race that requires that one master the conditions. When Samuel Wanjiru won the Olympic marathon in Beijing in 2008, it was because he had spent most of his life training in the heat and humidity of Japan.

This is not the first time that Kenyan marathoners have floundered when much was expected from them. In the 2012 Olympics, Mary Keitany was expected to challenge for gold because she had been the fastest marathoner in the world for the previous two years, In the end she was not in medal contention. She stated that she had performed poorly due to the fact that it rained on the day of the marathon yet she had never trained in rain. This is comical considering that it always rains in London and as such, part of preparation should be running in rainy weather or selecting runners who excel in rainy conditions.

It is also a fact that most of the Kenyans who excel in City marathons do not often  to do well when running in championships. This is especially true for the men. One exception was Samuel Wanjiru. Conversely the men who have not done well in City marathons generally do well when running for the country. Examples are Like Kibet and Abel Kirui who were the world championships gold medalists in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

In general, selecting a marathon team is not just about selecting the runners who are fastest on paper. It is very easy to assume that a runners city marathon performance will translate to any championship race. This is often not true.  One has to gauge motivation, the terrain and the weather conditions.

 


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Wildly inaccurate reports about Kenyan going directly to NBA


In the past few days, Kenyan television stations have been replete with false reports about a Kenyan basketball player by the name of Joseph Njeru Njuki being recruited to play for the Philadephia 76ers.

Top tier news stations including KTN and NTV ran with this story as did numerous other Kenyan news outlets.

The fact that Kenyan sports journalists would think it was possible for a Kenyan player to go directly from secondary school basketball in Kenya to the NBA shows the lack of basic knowledge that Kenyan sports journalists editors have about the NBA and how difficult it is to get in.

To this day, Njuki’s greatest accomplishment is that he was the MVP of the 2013 East Africa school games. This is a tremendous accomplishment but hardly enough to warrant a place in among America’s top college basketball programs much less the NBA.

To put things in perspective, the African basketball championships featuring Africa top basketball teams is currently going on in Tunisia. Whomever is voted the MVP of this tournament is still not good enough to play in the NBA. That fact alone should make the whole idea of Njuki going to the NBA laughable.

Journalists who closely cover the Philadelphia 76ers have refuted the story via twitter

 

Luckily Njuki himself seems to understand that the odds of reaching the NBA are somewhere between remote and impossible. That does not mean he should give up on basketball. Numerous Kenyan basketball players have succeeded in the USA college basketball scene. Most have earned degrees and proceeded to become successful professional white collar workers. A select few have gone on to pursue professional basketball in Europe. As we write, Tylor Ongwae who led the University of Louisiana Monroe in 2015, has signed his first professional contract in Europe.

Njuki could use his predeccesors as motivation to seek higher but realistic goals. But he should first speak to someone who can come clean and give him (Njuki) a dose of the real situation so that he does not set himself up for dissapointment. Even getting a full scholarship at any college may prove a tall order. Some Kenyans who went stateside on various sports scholarships ended up not getting their promises fulfilled. Some were dropped after one year.  He needs to get the facts as soon as possible. If he is misled, he could become disillusioned with basketball and quit.

Worth noting also is that Njuki never played basketball until form one when coach Robert Njeru who was interviewed in the third video unearthed him as a diamond in the rough and polished him to the point where he was good enough to become East Africa school games MVP. There are many Njuki type players with raw talent all over Kenya waiting to be discovered. The earlier they are introduced to the game of basketball, the more likely they are to fulfill their potential.


The coach who unearthed Njuki’s talents

 


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Tylor Ongwae starts professional career

ongwae-prof

Basketball standout Tylor Okari Ongwae will start his professional basketball career playing in Sweden. He will play for Solna Vikings, a team that features in the top Swedish league.

Ongwae is well known in Kenya basketball circles. He starred for Friends school Kamusinga during the national schools basketball tournament in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, he carried them to the final where he scored 35 points against Laiser Hill who did however win the match 94-55. Ongwae was voted the MVP of the national championships.

In 2010 he took Friends school Kamusinga to the finals yet again. He scored 43 points but in a much improved performance, Kamusinga lost to Laiser Hill yet again 93-86. He had scored 40 plus points to shock St Austins, then a perennial basketball power in the semis.

He was selected to the national team while still in his teens. He would later leave for the USA to pursue a basketball scholarship. He played for Ranger College before joining the University of Louisiana Monroe.

At ULM, Ongwae led his team in scoring throughout his senior season. But it was during the post season tournaments under high pressure that his talents came to the forefront. He scored 20.4 points per game during the post season, utilizing his quickness, midrange jumper and high free throw percentage(83.6%) to put points on the board.He won numerous accolades at ULM including being voted to All Southland Conference teams and All Louisiana team.

Ongwae the pioneer

Ongwae’s performances at ULM render him the most successful Kenyan ever in USA collegiate basketball. Another notch in Ongwae’s belt is the fact that few Kenyans ever find proceed to play professional basketball in Europe. Most Kenyans who head to the USA to play college basketball typically terminate their basketball careers after their senior seasons. The last time a Kenyan born player went to play professional basketball was in 2007 when Josephine Owino proceeded to Turkey and later Ukraine before her promising career was seemingly terminated by injuries after less than two years.

Peter Kiganya was the other player whose career went beyond his college playing days. After starring at Abilene Christian University, he went on to play in South America.

Ongwae  will be the only Kenyan born player ever to play in a top European division and is indeed the first ever Kenyan born player to accomplish that feat.

Solna Vikings

Solna Vikings was formed in 1999 and won the Swedish national title in 2003 and again in 2008. They played in the top tier Swedish league known as the Basketligan during the 2014-2015. They finished 7th out of 11 teams. They were however have been demoted to the second tier league, the Baskettann due to financial difficulties.

Ongwae has achieved great feats of basketball throughout his career. In his secondary school career, he took Kamusinga which is not exactly a basketball power to the brink of winning a national title. In his collegiate career, he became the first Kenyan born player to lead a division one school in scoring and be selected to the all conference team in a division one setting. We expect him to continue breaking barriers now that he will be playing in Europe.
 


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Kenya basketball could have a dynamic starting 5

awich

The 2015 Africa basketball championships kicks off in Tunisia on August 19. Kenya will not be represented having lost out to neighbours Uganda in the qualifiers. In fact Kenya has not been at this tournament since they hosted it in 1993. That is a whopping 22 years.

This year if the Kenya Basketball Federation had its act together and was able to incorporate foreign based players, Kenya could have fielded a powerful starting five that could have put them in the medal bracket of this tournament.

Below are some players with Kenyan eligibility who are playing in foreign leagues.

 

Point Guard : Kenneth Otieno

Kenneth Otieno is a 6’3″ guard who plays for the University of
Alberta. He has solid ball handling skills, has quick drives to the
basket, easily creates his own shot and is a superb 3-point shooter when
curling off screens or spotting up behind the arc. He can play either
point guard or shooting guard.

In the 2015 season, he averaged 14.7 points per  game, while
shooting a superb 47.9% from the field and 40.7% from behind the 3-point
line

 

Shooting Guard: Tylor Ongwae

Ongwae, a 6’7″ guard/forward, had a stellar 2014-2015 season, no
doubt the best ever by a Kenyan export to the USA collegiate system. He
led the University of Louisiana Monroe in scoring with 14.4 points per
game. He was selected to the Sunbelt Conference first team and All
Lousiana second team.

Ongwae is quick to the basket, has excellent ball handling skills. He
shoots well from the free throw line (83%) and is a string rebounder
from the guard forward position with 6.6 rebounds per game.

When the pressure is higher, Ongwae’s performance rises to the
occassion. During the post season (CBI playoffs) , he averaged 20.4
points per game.

 

Small Forward : Robert Nyakundi

Robert Nyakundi, is a 6’8″  combo Forward. He played college
basketball at Southern Methodist and averaged 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg,
shooting 43% from 3-point range in his 4-year career there.During his
senior season, he averaged 14.8 points per game and earned a mention
from sports illustrated because at one point, his 3-point shooting
average was an incredible 46%.

After his successful college career Nyakundi signed with Romanian
team CSU Asesoft Ploiesti for the 2012-’13 season. With them he competed
in the EuroChallenge and averaged 10.8 ppg & 2.7 rpg in 6 games.In
201302-14, season Nyakundi remained in Romania and signed with Steaua Bucuresti. He finished the season with averages of 14.3 ppg & 5.3 rpg.

For the 2014-2015, he joined Liège  in the Belgian league.

He has excellent outside shooting from the 3 & 4 position. Due to his
size Nyakundi has also played inside on many occasions and has therefore
developed a decent post-up game as well.

 

Power Forward: Omondi Amoke

Omondi Amoke is a powerfully built 6’7″  225 lb (100kgs) power
forward. Coming out if high school in California, he was one of the most
highly touted high school players in the USA. He played most of his
college basketball for the University of California Bears before
finishing at Cal Poly.

What sets him aside is his amazing athleticism. Even with his big
frame, he is very agile which enables him to guard both small forwards
and power forwards.

In his senior season at Cal Poly, Amoke averaged 10.8 points per
game. He is a strong and effective rebounder using his agility and
strength . In his senior season he averaged 9.9 rebounds per game.

Following his college career, Amoke has played in the CBA for the
Grand Rapids drive as well as for several teams in Europe. He currently
plays for Caborca in the Mexican League.

 

Center: Tom Wamukota

Wamukota, a product of Maseno school, a 6’11 center. he has the
distinction of being the only Kenyan to play in the NCAA round of 16 ,
popularly known as the sweet 16. Last season he played for Wichita State where he played in 32 matches.

He is a good defender in the low post and also provides tremendous
shot blocking. With his 6’11 winsgpan, he could provide plenty of
defensive solidity which would enable perimeter players to be more
aggressive on defence.

 

The Bench

In addition to the aforementioned starting 5, there are other players
with Kenyan eligibility who are playing excellent basketball overseas.

Joel Awich is a 6’7″ swingman with incredible foot-speed, and
incredibility leaping ability. He is a joy to watch in transition
because he takes off like a jet and finishes with a thunderous dunk. He
would be a useful option coming off the bench because he would be too
much to handle for tiring defenders. In 2015 he avarged 8.7 points per
game while playing for California Polytechnic Institute (Cal Poly).

JP Nyadaro is another product of Maseno school. After a succesful
stint playing for Trevecca College, Nyadaro joined the professional
ranks in 2014. He currently plays in the Canadian Basketball Association
for the St John Mill Rats

Ronald Gombe Gundo a 6’8″ forward who is well known in Kenya
basketball circles was recently signed by Canisius College.

Add this to the top tier players from the Kenyan league and you would have a dynamite team that is capable of making a lot of noise at the Africa basketball championships and at least reaching the semi-finals. It is worth noting that when Kenya lost to Uganda in the Africa qualifiers, it was because the Ugandan Federation had the organizational skills and forethought to bring their foreign players. But their foreign crew would have been no match for this Kenyan foreign crew.


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Photo-Gallery Kenya vs Namibia 2015

Size was clearly a factor as Kenya lost 46-13 to Namibia in Windhoek. The Namibian forwards always look bigger and more conditioned.
Secondly, Namibia are busy preparing for the 2015 rugby world cup which means the players have been training together for a long time unlike Kenya which only assembles a few days before any match. And as always, Africa cup matches always favour the home team because amateaur players often face travel restrictions from their employers.

 

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Kenya’s prospects at the 2015 world athletics championships

beijing-2015

The 2015 world athletics championships are scheduled to kick off on August 22 2015. As usual, Kenya’s best prospects lay in the distance events. And as usual, Kenya’s primary challenge will come courtesy of the Ethiopian contingent. Kenya also has a chance to bag a field event medal via Julius Yego who came agonizingly close last time. In the sprints, the best chance Kenya has is to make a surprise final or lower the Kenya record.

Women’s 800m: Sum looks invincible


Sum left Savinova chasing shadows in 2013

In 2013, Eunice Sum shocked everyone when she took home gold, beating feared Russian Mariya Savinova. And Sum has proven that her win in 2013 was no fluke. She has gone on to dominate this event for the past two years, beating Savinova numerous time as well as challengers like Ajee Wilson of USA.

In 2015 she has run sparingly. But when she has run, Sum has been imperious and peerless. She ran 1:56.99 in Monaco, which is the fastest time in the world since 2011. Her closest challenger would have been Ajee Wilson. But Wilson has pulled out of the championships due to injury.

Kenya’s other representative will be the evergreen Janeth Jepkosgei. The amazingly consistent Jepkosgei won this event in 2007. This year her best time is 1:59.37 which she recorded at the New York Diamond League when she finished second.

Rosemary Alamanza of Cuba will be Sum’s closest challenger. She has a season’s best of 1:57.70, recorded in Paris when she finished a distant second to Sum.

Women’s 1500m: Kipyegon against a strong Ethiopian challenge


Kibiegon will be hard pressed to challenge Dibaba

Kenya will be represented by Nancy Chepkwemoi, Faith Kipyegon and Violah Lagat. Completely missing from the scene this season is Hellen Obiri who has been Kenya’s best prospect for the past two years and who won the bronze medal in 2013.

In Obiri’s absence, Kenya’s hopes for a medal rest on the shoulders of the lovely Faith Kipyegon. The 21 year old was phenom in her youth career. She won the world youth championships, world junior championships and twice won the world junior cross country championships. At senior level, her greatest accomplishment was winning gold at the 2014 commonwealth games.

She finished 5th at the world championships in 2015 but says she has grown in stature since then. She has a personal best of 3:56.19 which she clocked as a 19 year old in 2013. This season her best is 4:00.94

The overwhelming favourite is Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia who this season sliced 4 seconds off the world record to clock 3:50.07. Sifan Hassan, an Ethiopian who represents the Netherlands is the likely silver medalist. Other contenders include the American duo of Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson as well as Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum.

Women’s 3000m steeplechase: Kiyeng and Nyambura with a chance


Nyambura Nganga has been a revelation on 2015

Kenya will send a strong contingent to this event consisting of Rosefline Chepngetich, Hyvin Jepkemoi, and Virginia Nyambura.

Nyambura has been the revelation of the 2015 season. She was previously only a pace-setter at Diamond league events. This year she shocked everyone when she won two Diamond League races including a win over Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia who was the overall Diamond league winner in 2014. The 22 year old has a person best of 9:13.85  which she set this year in Monaco.

Hyvin Kiyeng is the fastest Kenyan this year and the second fastest in the world with a time of 9:12.51. This too is a personal best.

Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia who has the fastest time this year starts as favourite. Other strong contenders are Emma Coburn of the USA and Hiwot Ayalew  both of whom were atop this event in 2014. There could also be a challenge from the Russian women who have a tendency to skip the Diamond League circuit then appear and win medals at global championships.

Women’s 5000m: Tall order for Cherono

The Kenyan contingent will consist of Irene Cheptai, Mercy Cherono, Viola Kibiwot and Janet Kisa. Kenya’s best prospect for a medal lay with the effervescent Mercy Cherono who is the 4th fastest in the world this season with a time of 14:34.10. She has a strong chance to return home with a medal.

She will have a tall order competing with Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia who ran a staggering time of 14:14.32 in Shanghai, the fastest time in the world this season. Genzebe Dibaba clocked 14:15.41 Paris for the second fastest time this season. The two Ethiopians will likely compete for gold. Faith Kipyegon of Kenya is the 3rd fastest in the world but she will be running the 1500m not the 5000m. Mercy Cherono’s seasons best is a good 20 seconds slower than Ayana which makes her task a very tall order.

Viola Kibiwott is Kenya’s next best prospect. She clocked 14:40.32  in Shanghai while Janet Kisa who was a silver medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth games has a season’s best of 15:10.66.

10,000m: The return of Vivian Cheruiyot

Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot is one of the greatest female track runners Kenya has produced. She has won 3 world championship gold medals including a double in 2011. She also has a commonwealth games gold, continental cup gold and Olympic silver medal to her name. And she has been around for a long time. At age 16 in 1999, she won a bronze medal at the All Africa games.

She took some time off to have a baby. She could have rode off into the sunset. But at age 32, she has made a comeback. Her most recent races have been promising. She won the Bruxelles Diamond League race in 31:13.29  and also won the Kenyan trials in impressive fashion.

Once again her strongest competition will come from the Ethiopians especially Gelete Burka who has run the fastest time in the world this year at 30:49.68 . Burka was previously one of the best 1500m runners but was never lucky enough to win medals at major global competitions. In 2009 she was in contention to win gold at the world championships only to trip and fall.

I am happy to be back. The world title is now on my mind and I promise to try my best to reclaim it even though the World Championships is a bit competitive,” said Cheruiyot adding that winning the trials hot conditions was fine since she expects similar conditions in Beijing. “The weather will be hot and humid in Beijing but that is fine with me.” said Cheruiyot to the Nation.

The other Kenyan representatives will be Sally Kipyego and Betsy Saina both of whom are well known in the USA collegiate circuit. Kipyego has an impressive  personal best of 30:26.37  recorded in London. Betsy Saina’s person best is 30:57.30  , recorded in 2014 in Palo Alto California.

I have prepared well in the USA, Iten and here at Kasarani,” Saina said. “We have had weeks of polishing up especially on our finishing speed,” said Saina to the Nation.

Women’s Marathon: Edna aims for hat trick

Kenya as usual will send a strong contingent to the championships. This time it will be Visiline Jepkesho, Edna Kiplagat, Helah Kiprop, Jemimah Sumgong.

Kiplagat won this event in 2011 and 2013 and will be vying for a 3rd succesive title. Kenya’s performance was most impressive in 2011 when Kiplagat led two other Kenyans to sweep the podium despite a mishap that saw two of them collide and fall down in a heap.

Kiplagat has a chance to become the first person to win three successive world championship gold medals in the marathon. She has won numerous city marathons. Her most recent was in London in 2014.

Kiplagat has been training hard in anticipation.
The training is okay. We are waiting to know the final team and, if I get selected, I will give it my best. You know championship is different from other big marathons and it needs a lot of focus and preparation. I will be glad if named to defend my title and even become a three-time champion — more so, back to back,” said Kiplagat. She added: “It won’t be easy as many other athletes are also preparing. Team work is crucial in championship events.” she said to the Standard

Jemima Sumgong is an accomplished City marathon runner. She has won the Rotterdam and Las Vegas Marathons, and has finished runner-up at the Boston, Chicago and New York City Marathons. She has a personal best of 2:20:48
The strongest challenge will come from the Ethiopian contingent led by Mare Deba who has recorded the fastest time in a marathon this season.

 

Men’s 800m: Rudisha hopes for a comeback


Ferguson Cheruiyot surprised Rudisha at the trials

The 800m is traditionally a strong event for Kenya. This year however, Kenya could very well finish outside the medals. David Rudisha, the greatest 800m runner ever, has not fully recovered from the injury he picked up in 2013. At the Kenyan trials, he lost to Ferguson Cheruiyot.  Alfred Kipketer will be Kenya’s 3rd representative.

The fastest Kenyan at this event this season has been the young Robert Biwott. But he has chosen to focus on the 1500m. David Rudisha’s seasons best is 1:43.58 which makes him 8th in the world this season. But you can never count out the heart of a champion.

The favourite will be Nijel Amos of Botswana. Amel Tuka of Bosnia ran the fastest 800m time of the season with a blazing 1:42.51  in Monaco. He beat Amos on that occassion. If he is in Monaco form, he could win gold. Mohamed Aman of Ethiopia, dominated the 2013 season. He will be back to defend the title he won. With a time of 1:43.56 , he is the 6th fastest in the world this season.

Rudisha has been unable to beat Amos in two attempts this season. In Lausanne, Rudisha tried his typical front running style but Amos caught him in the last 100m. Then in London Rudisha changed his tactics and stayed with the pack before taking off in the final bend but Amos caught him in the last 50m.

However Rudisha is confident that he will rise to the occassion on Beijing. He says the two week camp at Kasarani enabled him to recover his powerful attack.

“I have already picked up power. It is not that I did not have power but it had not been activated,”he said to the Nation.

Men’s 1500m: Kiprop in imperious form


Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat went 1-2 in 2011. They could repeat the feat in 2015

Asbel Kiprop has been in imperious form this season. Whereas last season he lost a number of close races to compatriot Silas Kiplagat and Djiboutian Ayaneleh Souleiman, this season Kiprop has looked unbeatable. In July in Monaco, Kiprop beat a strong field by over 10 metres to record a blazing time of 3:26.69 making him the 3rd fastest 1500m runner ever, only behind Hicham El Guerrouj and Bernard Lagat. A week later he toyed with the field again to win easily and the Sainsbury Grand Prix. He looks to be in the form of his life. Kiprop is the defending champion, having won this event in 2013. Barring a catastrophe, he should come back with gold.

22 year old Elijah Manangoi is a newbie who does not have any major championships under his belt. But he has an impressive 3:29.67 person best which is 6th fastest in the world this season.

Silas Kiplagat who has been Kiprop’s biggest challenger in the Diamond League circuit over the past four years, rounds up Kenya’s team. He has a personal best of 3:27.64 minutes, which makes him the fourth fastest of all-time over the distance. He is a former Commwealth games champion and was the 2011 world championships silver medalist.

It’s a tough calling but I shall put my best foot forward and hope for the best,” said Kiplagat to the Nation

The biggest challenge to the Kenyans will come from Ayanleh Souleiman and Tariq Makhloufi of Algeria who won Olympic gold in 2012.

Men’s 3000m steeplechase: Strong challenger for the Kenyans


Birech and kemboi are Kenya’s best prospects and will face a strong challenge from Jager

This is an event that Kenya has totally and completely dominated ever since Amos Biwott won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics. On paper Kenya has a very strong squad. Jairus Birech has dominated this event for the past 2 years often beating the field by 10 metres. , Ezekiel Kemboi is a multiple world and Olympic champion. Brimin Kipruto won Olympic gold in 2004. Conselus Kipruto Kipruto finished second to Kemboi in 2013. After lagging in 2014, he is rounding back to form.

However Kenya will face a strong challenge from American Evan Jager who has suddenly emerged a strong favourite to win gold. Earlier this year, he was way ahead of Birech and on pace to run in the 7:58 range, only to stumble and fall at the last hurdle. A Kenyan has won every steeplechase event since 1988. There is a strong chance that that run could be ended by Jager

Men’s 5000m: Can Koech, Ndiku stop Mo Farah from triple double


If any Kenyan can beat Mo Farah it is Ndiku

Kenya will be represented by the quartet of Emmanuel Kipsang, Isaiah Koech, Caleb Ndiku and Edwin Soi. Kenya will be missing their two fastest runners from 2015: Thomas Longosiwa and Paul Tanui who has opted to run in the 10,000m.

Caleb Ndiku, who won the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games might be Kenya’s best prospect only if he can replicate his 2014 form. In 2014, Ndiku was in superb form winning numerous Diamond League events. This year he has not run much.

Isaiah Koech, the former world youth champion, was only 19 when he won the bronze medal at the 2013 world championships. On that occasion, his lack of experience and race savvy caused him to lose to Farah. He is now two years older and ready to challenge for high honours.

Edwin Soi is capable of some excellent runs in Diamond league races that are run at his favourite pace. However he lacks consistency and race savvy and typically does not do well in championships.

Mo Farah will start as favourite. He won this race in 2011 and 2013 and his recent form shows he has not lost any of the tactical serve he displayed in the last two world championships. He has won double gold medals at the 2011 world championships and the 2012 Olympics. Should he win two gold this time, it will be the third time he has won double gold. In other words he would have achieved an athletic triple double.

There will be a strong contingent from Ethiopia: Yomif Kejelcha has the fastest 5000m of 2015 at 12:58.39. Hagos Gebrehiwet is the other Ethiopian hopeful.

Men’s 10,000m: Tactical battle of Kenyans vs Farah


Geoffrey Kamwor winning the world cross country championships

Mo Farah of Great Britain has dominated this event over the past few years. He is the defending champion having won in 2013 and will start as favourite. Kenya is represented by the trio of Paul Tanui, Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Kaloki.

Farah shows so signs of slowing down. He beat this Kenyan trio when he faced them earlier this year in Eugene Oregon. Yet again it was his tactics that propelled him to victory. It will require a strong team effort from the Kenyans to dislodge Farah from his perch.

Kamworor appears to be in fine form. During the world championships trials, he clocked 27:11.89 which is the fastest time ever ran by anyone at high altitude. Much is expected from Kamworor since he is the world half marathon champion and world cross country champion.

Earlier this year, Farah beat Tanui and Kamworor, winning the 10,000m at the PreFontaine classic in 26:50.97. The best chance that Kamworor has against Farah is to set a searing pace throughout the race.

Aside from Farah, the strongest challenge will come from the Ethiopian duo of Muktar Edris and Imane Merga who have recorded the fastest times in the 10k this season.

 Men’s Marathon


Kenyans will be counting on Kipsang and Kimetto to bring home gold

Kenya had won the marathon at the world championships 3 times in a row with Luke Kibet winning in 2007 followed by Abel Kirui who won in 2009 and 2011. In 2013 however, Kenya did not feature among the medals. Instead it was Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich who won gold having fought off a challenge from the Ethiopians led by Lelisa Desisa.

This time Kenya has sent a strong Arsenal : Dennis Kimetto, Wilson Kipsang, Mark Korir. Kimetto and Kipasang are the current world record holder and previous world record holder respectively.

The fastest time of the year was recorded by Eliud Kipchoge when he clocked 2:04:42  to win the London marathon. Kipchoge opted out of the world championships leaving Kipsang whose 2:04:47  time is the second fastest of the year.

Mark Korir is no slouch either. In April of this year, he won the Paris marathon in 2:05:49  which is the 4th fastest time of the year

The Kenyans will be challenged by Lelisa Desisa who won silver in 2013 and Lemi Berhanu who has the 3rd fastest time. And of course there is the Ugandan Kiprotich who though he does poorly in city marathons, has risen to the occasion at the last two global contests beating the Kenyans and the Ethiopians.

Javelin: Julius Yego going for history

Yego could become Kenya’s first field event medalist

Incredibly, Julius Yego has the best javelin mark in the world this year at 91.39 m which he recorded in winning the Birmingham Grand Prix. It is an African record and It marks the first time a Kenyan has been atop the world in a throwing event.

“The fact that I am heading to Beijing with a Diamond League record doesn’t make me the favourite,” said Yego to the Nation.

Yego is popularly known as “youtube man” because he learned his craft by watching youtube videos due to the lack of specialized training for field events in Kenya. Aside from setting the African record, he already has several accolades to his name including the Commonwealth games gold in 2014 as well as African championship gold medals in 2012 and 2014.

He now seeks to make history by becoming the first Kenyan to medal at a field event in a global championship. He came painfully close when he finished 4th at the 2013 world championships.

It’s my prayer that God will keep me in good health to be able to see the day and plough a perfect throw. I cannot talk about a record since no one knows when he will throw a big distance. It comes by chance” said Yego

The sprints: A chance to make a mark


Nkanata at the 2014 African championships

No Kenyan has won a medal in any sprint event since Samson Kitur won a bronze medal at the 1993 world championships before anchoring the Kenya team to a silver medal in the 4 X 400m.

This year, Kenya’s prospects for a medal a remote. However, there is a chance that one of the Kenyan sprinters could set a new national mark.

In 2014, USA based Carvin Nkanata clocked 20.32 in the 200m to brake the Kenya record which had lasted since Joseph Gikonyo set it in 1990. At that time, Gikonyo shocked everyone by winning both the 100m and the 200m at the African championships, leaving the highly fancied west Africans shell shocked.

Nkanata lowered the record again in 2015 with a time of 20.14. Based on that, Nkanata has a strong chance to become the first Kenyan to reach the 200m finals at a global event. Last year he won a bronze medal at the African championships.

But do not sleep on Mike Mokamba who clocked 20.48 in beating Nkanata at the trials. Mokamba also set a new Kenya record in the 100m by clocking 10.23. Mokamba’s father Elkana Nyangau represented Kenya in the 1987 All Africa games and the 1988 Olympics.

Kenya will not field a relay team and Alphas Kishoyian is the only qualifier in the 400m. This season he clocked an impressive 44.75. Boniface Tumuti who won a bronze medal at the 2014 African championships has been missing in action in the 400m 2015. He did attempt to qualifiy in the 400m hurdles.

Another African championships medalist is Francisca Koki. She too set a personal best and a new Kenyan record  of 55.82 at Kasarani in qualifying for the world championships.

Joy Sakari will run in the 400m. She reached the semi-finals of the 2009 world championships and the 2012 Olympics. Along with the legendary Ruth Waithera, she holds the Kenya 400m record at 51.56. Sakari has been amazingly consistent for 6 years and is among the two fastest Kenyans in the 100m, 200m and 400m. A unique feat indeed.

Maureen Jelagat who previously represented Kenya in 400m hurdles, will this time run the 400m where she also has an impressive personal best of 51.63


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David Rudisha, the greatest 800m runner ever

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya celebrates after winning gold and setting a new world record of 1.40.91 in the Men's 800m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

No country has produced as many excellent two lap runners as Kenya has. In fact if you look at a list of the fastest 800m runners in history, you will find that 50% of them are Kenyan.

However the one who stands out above all the rest is David Lekuta Rudisha. Rudisha is not just the greatest 800m runner ever, but also one of the greatest track athletes ever.

Rudisha’s dominance of the 800m race is thorough and complete:

David Rudisha’s Records

1. As of 2015, he holds the 800m world record at 1:40.91
2. As of 2015, he is the only person ever to run the 800m in under 1:41:00
3. As of 2015, he has run the 3 fastest times in the 800m
4. As of 2015, he has run 6 out of the 10 fastest times in history
5. As of 2015, he has run 10 out of the 20 fastest times in history
6. As of 2015, he has run the fastest time at altitude (1.42.12)
7. As of 2015 he holds the Diamond league record for both the 600m (1:13.71) and the 800m (1:41.54)

David Rudisha’s Medals and Accomplishments

1. Olympic gold medal in 2012
2. World championship gold medal in 2011
3. African championship gold medals in 2008 and 2010
4. Inter-Continental cup gold medal in 2010
5. World junior championships gold medal in 2006
6. Africa junior championship gold medal in 2007
7. Diamond league overall winner for the 800m in 2010 and 2011
8. Commonwealth games silver medal in 2014

The year’s between 2010 and 2012 found Rudisha in his prime and injury free. It was during this period that he created his legacy. During this period he was not just winning races, he was winning in thoroughly dominant fashion, leading from start to finish, often not requiring a pace-maker and beating the field by at least 10 metres each time. It was during this period that he set numerous records and won several gold medals

His most memorable performance came at the 2012 Olympics. He completely dominated the race, obliterating the field and setting a new world record without needing a pace maker. Thanks to Rudisha dragging the field, almost everyone in that final set a personal best. It was voted by many as the best performance at the 2012 Olympics in all the sports.

Early Life

Rudisha was born in Kilgoris, Narok District. His father is Daniel Rudisha, who won a silver medal while representing Kenya in the 4 X 400m at the 1968 Olympics. The person most credited with moulding Rudisha into a world class athlete is Brother Brolm O’Connell, an Irish missionary and Geography teacher at St Patricks Iten school who has also moulded numerous world beaters. “I don’t know where I’d be without him.” Rudisha once said.

Brother O’Connell first noticed Rudisha when the latter was 14 and competing mostly in the 400m in a bid to emulate his father. He encouraged Rudisha to switch to the 800m. The following year, while running on a dirt track, he clocked 1mins 49.6secs in the two lap event, an amazing time for a 15 year old running on a dirt track.

Rudisha first announced himself to the world when he won the 800m at the 2006 world junior athletics championships in Beijing with a time of 1:47.60. In 2007 he closed his juniors career by winning the African junior championships in 1:46.41.

Senior career

Though he won the African championships in 2008, his performance that year was underwhelming. He did not qualify for the Olympic games. And it seemed he was taking a back seat to Sudanese runner Abubaker who had run the fastest 800m time of the year at 1:42.69 over a second faster than Rudisha whose personal best at the time was 1:43.79.   And Kaki was a year younger than Rudisha. Many thought he was going to be one among many athletes who shone at junior level but could not translate that promise to senior level.

The year 2009 did not start well for Rudisha. He qualified for the World Championships but only went as far as the semi-finals. A poor tactical race caused him to miss the finals by only 0.07 seconds.

However later that year, he started to show signs of greatness. In September 2009, he broke the African record, previously held by Sammy Koskei by clocking 1:42.01. The record had lasted 25 years. It was Rudisha’s first major record and a sign of things to come. He was finally fulfilling the potential he had shown as a junior.

On 10 July 2010, Rudisha ran the 800 m in 1:41.51 at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium; this new personal record placed him No. 2 all-time in the world for the 800 m.

On 22 August 2010 Rudisha broke Wilson Kipketer’s 800 m World Record two days before the anniversary of that record with a time of 1:41.09 while racing in the ISATF meeting in Berlin. Just a week later, he broke the record again at the Rieti Diamond League Meeting, lowering it to 1:41.01

In November 2010, at the age of 21, he became the youngest ever athlete to win the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award. He also won the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year award.

He finally won his first major global title when he won the 2011 world championships soundly beating his arch-rival Abubaker Kaki into second place and Russian veteran Yuri Borzakovsky into 3rd place.

His defining moment came at the 2012 Olympics when he led the race from start to finish and in winning the race, did not just break the world record but also became the first person to break the 1:41:00 barrier, one of the iconic barriers in the world of athletics.


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Biography of Mpongo Love

mpongo-prof

M’Pongo Love, whose real name Alfride M’Pongo Landu is a Congolese musician. She is well known for soft soprano voice but even more importantly because she succeeded in becoming a succesful musician despite being disabled. Along with Mbilia Bel, Tshala Mwana and Abeti Masikini, she is considered as one of the greatest female Congolese musicians.

Mpongo Love’s Childhood and early career

Mpongo at with Empopo Loway and Tcheke Tcheke Love

Mpongo Love with Les Ya Tupas and Mayaula Mayoni

Mpongo Love tours abroad including Festac 77

Rivalry with Abeti Masikini

Mpongo Love Leaves Empopo Loway and goes to Paris

 

Mpongo leaves Safari Ambiance, goes to Gabon then back home

The Death of Mpongo Love

Legacy of Mpongo Love and Sandra Mpongo

Mpongo Love Discography

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Videos of William Inganga playing for Cerro Porteno of Paraguay

inganga

Former AFC Leopards striker William Inganga is the only Kenyan ever to play in the Copa Libertadores which is the premier club competition in South America. He did so in 1996 when he featured for Cerro Porteno of Paraguay. He played three Copa Libertadores matches. During his time in Paraguay, Inganga scored some spectacular goals as evidenced by the videos below.

Inganga who was born on March 13 1969, first came to prominence while playing for Nyangori boys secondary school. One of the most memorable games was when he steered Nyangori to a win over the much vaunted national schools champions Kakamega high in 1989. His exploits at school level attracted the attention of AFC Leopards scouts. Leopards were desperate to find a replacement of Joe Masiga whose career had recently come to an end. Inganga did not disappoint as he immediately emerged as one of the top strikers in Kenya.

His exploits in the Kenyan league attracted the attention of Egyptian giants Zamalek whom he joined in 1994. He stayed there for one and a half years before joining Cerro Porteno of Paraguay.

Interestingly enough, while Inganga was playing at the highest levels of South American football, he was not called up to the national team. In fact though Inganga was one of the most prolific scorers in the Kenyan league in the early 1990s, he never featured prominently for the national team.

As such it was highly unexpected when he went to South America and made a success of it. Unfortunately his explots in South America hardly got any notice in the Kenyan press. To this day, very few Kenyan football fans know that Inganga played at the highest levels of South American football.

On leaving Cerro Porteno, Inganga joined Club Atlético Torino de Talara of Peru, before proceeding to China where he played for Beijing Guoan which was one of the top teams in China. He briefly returned to Cerro Porteno before being sidelined by a long term injury. After succesful surgery he returned to football in 1999, when he played in the top Indian league for Salgaocar of Goa. He would then conclude his career at Ruwi FC in Oman where he played alongside Felix Otieno, the former Gor Mahia midfielder.

 


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Kenya vs Spain Rugby Photogallery

On this date, the Kenya rugby XV scored a memorable 36-27 victory of a Spain team that was ranked 10 places ahead of Kenya in the IRB standings.


Both sets of players line up for anthems


Spain fans were on hand to witness the proceedings


The Kenyan backs were relentless in running at Spain who had a torrid time stopping Kenya


Though outmatched in terms of size, the kenya front 8 met and matched the aggresive Spanish pack


Centre Jacob Ojee was a handful for the Spaniards throughout the game with his evasive runs. Ojee scored one try

 


Jacob Ojee was critical in producing the turning point of the game: As he raced clear, a Spain defender had no ption but to execute a high tackle on Okombe. The Spaniard was sent to the Sin bin. Kenya went from trailing 26-27 to winning 36-27

 


Mike Okombe shrugs off a tackle from Mathieu Roca.


The Spain coach was left befuddled when Kenya took control of the game


Spain players react after the final whistle was blown


Players pose for a group photo after the final whistle

 

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