The Silesia World Relays predicts a bright future for Kenya in the sprints

Ferguson Rotich receives the baton from Naomi Korir in the mixed 2x2x400m relay. Kenya finished second. Photo (c) by Dan Vernon for World Athletics.

When Kenya’s Julius Yego threw the Javelin to a personal best distance of 92.72m to win a world championships gold medal in 2015, he became a household name in Kenya, and across the world. Not so much because he had won the world title, but because he had suddenly emerged from a country that wasn’t known for Javelin throwing. In fact, he was nicknamed the “YouTube Athlete” because of the way he got to learn his throwing technique through the internet.  

Similarly, Kenya’s performance in the men’s 4x200m relay at the world relays in Silesia, on 1 and 2 May, came as a surprise to many and showed that Kenyans have a huge potential in the sprint events. It could be the beginning of many more gold medals to come. 

The start off charge by Mark Otieno set the tempo for the quartet. Mark handed the baton to Mike Mokamba who cruised the fastest second lap in 20.54 seconds before handing the baton to Elijah Onkware, and to Hesborn Ochieng.The quartet of Mark Otieno, Mike Mokamba,Elijah Ongware, and Hesbon Ochieng, ran 1:24:26 to win the silver medal for Kenya. 

Unfortunately, this event is not run at the Olympic Games. But, what is important is that Kenyans now know that they have the potential in the sprints. 

In other events, Ferguson Rotich and Naomi Korir settled for second place in the mixed relay. In the women’s 4x200m, Kenya registered a national record of 1:38:26, where Maximila Imali ran the second fastest lap of 23.45 in that final.

Despite Kenya missing a chance to qualify a relay team for Tokyo Olympic Games and World 2022 Athletics championships, the focus is still on individual sprinters like Mark Otieno for Tokyo. There’s still hope!