Kenya's team to the IAAF world indoor championships sets out to make an impression in Portland, Oregon, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat

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Ndiku_CalebFV1b-Sopot14.jpgCaleb Ndiku, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Kenyan team that is running in Portland is small, yet, lethal. They have lots of fans in Kenya hoping for some great racing. This is Justin Lagat's piece on the Kenyan team.

Kenya's team to the IAAF world indoor championships sets out to make an impression in Portland Oregon:
During the last world indoor championships in Sopot, Kenya won only two medals; a gold medal from Caleb Ndiku and a silver medal from Hellen Obiri. Both medals came from one event; the 3,000m.
Kenya was placed 10th overall at the medal standings and what came as a surprise was that the country never won any medal in the 800m and 1500m events despite the fact that it is known to dominate the world in the middle distance events. One more gold medal would have put the country in fourth position, which goes a long way in explaining how a medal at this championships in so important.
This time round, Caleb Ndiku, one of the two Kenyans who delivered the medals in 2014 will be there to defend his title in Portland. The other medalist, Obiri, will be missing in the team but that should not worry anyone who knows the depth of athletic talents in Kenya.
Joining Ndiku in the men's 3000m is Augustine Choge who is back in great shape this year after leading in points in the just concluded IAAF indoor tour. He also carries the hopes of many Kenyans for a gold medal in this event. Isaiah Kiplangat is also part of the 3000m team. This is one event in which hopes for a gold medal are very high for Kenyans, and possibly a 1-2-3 finish too.
Bethwel Birgen finished 8th at the finals of the 1500m in Sopot, which was a positive step for him to have been the only Kenyan who qualified to the finals. This year, he hopes to move to the next positive step, and that will be to finish in the medal positions. His training mate, Vincent Kibet, will be running with him in this race. Viola Lagat will be seeking to win a medal too in the women's event.
Betsy Saina, who will be running in the women's 3000m is glad that the venue for the world event is so close to where she lives in the US and believes that the good preparations she has done, coupled with the home crowd who will be there to support and cheer her, will be great for her. The fact that she will not have to make any travel arrangements as she will continue staying in her house and driving to the venue of the championships will most likely yield the best results for her in Portland. With her in this event will be Nancy Chepkwemoi, the winner of Glasgow indoor 3000m event.
Jeremiah Mutai will join Edward Kemboi in the men's 800m event.
Margaret Nyairera will be running in the women's event.
Kenya will also have an athlete in the 400m event. Boniface Mweresa will be the one with the honor to try and win a rare medal for Kenya at the championships.
Francis Afundi, who is the team manager, told the press that Kenya hopes to make an impression this time round at the world indoor championships. Perhaps, some athletes too will be hoping to use the opportunity to try and become world champions and, later, Olympic champions in the same year.
Kenya's team:
MEN:
400m: Boniface Ontuga MWERESA
800m: Jeremiah Kipkorir MUTAI, Edward Kibet KEMBOI
1,500m: Vincent Kibet, Bethwel Birgen
3,000m: Augustine Choge, Caleb Mwangangi, Isaiah Kiplangat
WOMEN:
800m: Margaret Nyairera,
1,500m: Viola Lagat
3,000m: Nancy Chepkwemoi, Betsy Saina

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