National 400m champion Mary Moraa has set her sights beyond the forthcoming World Relay Championships after she ploughed the fastest time in the 800m at Athletics Kenya Relay Series on Saturday.
Moraa promised a thriller in the women’s 800m this year as she trains her eyes firmly on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
Also announcing his return from a nagging hamstring and back problem is the Commonwealth 800m champion, Wycliffe Kinyamal, who set the second fastest time in the men’s 800m.
“The truth is that I have a bright future in 800m than the one lap race, but that is not to say I won’t be running in 400m, I will use the race for speed work, “said Moraa, who clocked 2 minutes and 04.92 seconds as Josephine Chelangat and Emily Cherotich finished second and third in 2:05.11 and 2:05.95 in the ranking.
The 20-year-old Moraa, who represented Kenya in the 400m at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, said she looks forward to getting a ticket either in the 4x400m or 2x2x 400 for the World Relays due May 1 and 2 in Silesia, Poland.
The third and final Athletics Kenya Relay Series event is due February 6 before the national trials to select the team for the World Relays on March 26 to 27 at the Nyayo National Stadium.
“My desire is to train well for the 800m and what I can tell Kenyans is…just watch me! I will dig in for that qualifying time and for sure I will do wonders at Tokyo Olympics, God willing,” vowed Moraa, the 2017 World Under-18 400m silver medallist.
“I know coaches are worried about our country’s future in the women’s 800m, but we are ready to fill in the gaps that great athletes like Pamela Jelimo, Janeth Jepkosgei and Eunice Sum have left,” said the confident Moraa, who has a personal best of 2:03.27.
Jelimo made history as the first Kenyan woman to win the 800m title at the Olympics during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and holds the national record of 1:54.01.
Jepkosgei won the world 800m title at 2007 Worlds in Osaka with Sum claiming world honours in 2013 Moscow.
“My training is coming out well and the good thing is that my right leg hamstring has healed and the lower back pains are gone,” said the 23-year-old Kinyamal, who has a personal best of 1:43.12.
Kinyamal’s time of 1:47.77 was ranked second behind seasoned runner Jeremiah Mutai, who returned 1:47.40 with Cornelius Tuwei (1:47.80) and 2016 World Under-20 800m champion, Kumari Taki (1:48.03) coming in third and fourth respectively.
Meanwhile, the venue for the National Cross Country Championships has been moved from Kisii to Nairobi’s Ngong Racecourse grounds.
“Following lengthy deliberations between the AK Nyanza South, County Government of Kisii and AK head office, it has finally been resolved that the event is moved to Nairobi,” said Athletics Kenya chief administrative officer, Susan Kamau in a statement.
The change comes weeks after AK moved all their national relay series events to Nairobi for lacking capacity to enforce Covid-19 protocols.