Bungei supports Kenyan marathoners to shine at the Paris Olympics

Bungei supports Kenyan marathoners to shine at the Paris Olympics

Eliud Kipchoge (center) poses for a photograph with Brigid Kosgei (immediate left), Alexander Mutiso (far left), Peres Jepchirchir (immediate right) and Benson Kipruto (far right) during the naming of the final marathon team Kenya on Wednesday, May 1. of 2024 in Eldoret. Photo by Athletics Kenya.

Former world 800 meters champion Wilfred Bungei backed the Kenyan marathon teams named on Wednesday afternoon to shine at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France.

Bungei said that with the leadership of double champion Eliud Kipchoge who highlights the men’s team, they will surely deliver medals for the country.

Kipchoge, London Marathon champion Alexander Mutiso and Tokyo Marathon champion Benson Kipruto will fly the Kenyan flag in the men’s race.

“They are very good athletes, with experience and now in top shape. With the guidance of the GOAT (Kipchoge) himself, I am sure they will make the country proud,” Bungei said.

The women’s team features defending champion Peres Jepchirchir, former world record holder Brigid Kosgei and two-time Boston Marathon winner Hellen Obiri.

Timothy Kiplagat and Sharon Lokedi were named reserves for the men’s and women’s teams respectively.

“For the women, I am sure that they will get on the podium, they are very good and experienced athletes. No competitor in other countries comes close to them,” Bungei added.

At the same time, Bungei believes Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala will bounce back stronger at the Paris Olympics after struggling at the Kip Keino Classic last month, where he finished fifth.

“The weather that day did not favor him due to the wind, his body build was a disadvantage compared to the thinner athletes.

“What you should do is make sure you don’t run too many races before the Olympics to avoid fatigue. You should only compete in the extremely important races and I’m sure you will recover stronger,” Bungei advised.

Technical errors

Meanwhile, Omanyala is determined to see the national 4x100m team qualify for the Paris Games, via the World Relay Championships in the Bahamas this weekend.

Omanyala, however, knows that he will have to avoid technical errors similar to those he made at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Athletics – World Athletics Championships – Men’s 100m Semi Final – National Athletics Centre, Budapest, Hungary – August 20, 2023 Noah Lyles of the USA and Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya in action during Heat 1 REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

“It’s about trust and I don’t think that will happen again. It’s about trusting the next person and putting into practice what the coaches say and that’s it. Whoever is selected to compete will do so because we are all prepared. We have one goal: to get this team qualified for the Olympic Games,” he stated.

His sentiments were echoed by teammate Mark Otieno, who is eager to return to the Olympics after Tokyo’s pain last year. Otieno was suspended for use of prohibited substances just before competing in the 100-meter heats.

“If you look here, everyone is working very hard to get to the Olympics. Half of this team is all from dad, so everyone is pushing to the limit not only for themselves and the country but also for their families,” he stated.

The team has been in camp for 22 days, including the men’s and women’s 4×400m teams, under the guidance of coach Stephen Mwaniki, who is hopeful of a good start.

“We’ve perfected the whole relay button driving drill and interchanges, as well as how to avoid stepping on the lines in the lane,” Mwaniki said.

The six-man 4x100m team is led by Ferdinand Omanyala, Mike Mokamba, Mark Otieno, Hesbon Onyango, Simon Chege and Meshack Babu.

Report by John Kyanda and Mkalla Mwambodze