• Games in Delhi, Kenya’s most successful outing ever

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Oct 15, 2010-

The 19th Commonwealth Games were undoubtedly Kenya’s most successful after a haul of 32 medals (12 Gold, 11 Silver, 9 Bronze) all from athletics apart from two.

Probably the most exceptional aspect was that the team of about 120 athletes - and nearly the same number of officials - was not Kenya’s finest squad assembled as it was lacking several of its top athletes who pulled out of the Games because of injuries and fatigue. Apart from a handful of stars a lot was not expected from the team especially in athletics.

When the athletics programme began with Ugandan Moses Kispiro upstaging the Kenyans in the men’s 5000m, sceptics mounted over the depth and quality of the Kenyan team in Delhi devoid of its leading lights in the middle and long distance races.

“Kipsiro is an experienced and very talented athlete, looking at our 10000m team the young men are just starting out,” argued Athletics Head Coach Peter Mathu, after Kipsiro won his second gold in the longer track event.

Like the Delhi games that exceeded expectations after a string of controversies, the Kenyan team performance in Delhi was the finest showing at the Club games surpassing the country’s previous best haul of seven gold medals in 1974, 1978, 1994 and 1998.

The medals came in doubles or better still the podium sweeps in the steeplechase events, the men’s 800m and the women’s 5000m established Kenya as an athletics powerhouse but still far from being a sporting nation.

Nancyy Jebet Lagat also made history with her successful double in 800 and 1500m which made here the second woman ever to win the middle distance double in past 18 editions of the games after  Kirsty Wade of Wales in 1986.

For Athletics Team manager Peter Angwenyi, the onus is now on Kenya to maintain the momentum in future events.

“This was good event for us as we look to prepare teams for the All Africa Games and World championships next year and more importantly the Olympics. The work is cut out for us.”

Another memorable moment was watching Mark Mutai cross the line firstin the men’s 400m, an accomplishment that will be top of the Chef De Mission to Delhi Jonathan Kosgei recommendations.

“We urgently need to set up a sprints centre in Western Kenya, a place like Oyugis would be ideal. Look at Mutai he managed Gold not with tiptop preparations,” noted Kosgei, a deputy Kenya Police Commissioner.

But success in Athletics was not complemented by the other disciplines Kenya was represented in, with the exception of Boxing and swimming where Benson Nganjuri won silver while Jason Dunford ensured that the Kenyan national anthem was played at the DR.S.P.M.Aquatics Complex.

In swimming the writing has always been the wall that the country lacks good facilities and proper coaching to fully develop swimmers to the calibre of the Dunford brothers; whose success in the pool is largely due to structures and exposure they have acquired in their stint in schools and universities abroad as well as overwhelming support by their parents. 

Save for Jason whose sterling performance earned him the gold in the 100m butterfly with the, medal slipping away in the Breaststroke and his brother David who made the final in the 50m freestyle ; there was little to write home about for the other competitors who despite posting some of their best times could not make it past their qualifying heats.

A podium position was expected of the Kenya seven-aside team who after a startling opening day faltered in the quarters before a defensive blunder cost them a consolation plate final, losing to Scotland in the last four.

“This was a good experience for us as look to the IRB series later this year,” said Captain Humprey Kayange. “We have changed our backline a couple of times and are yet to stabilize but am sure we are going to get it right.”

Kenya clearly struggled in racket sports while the perennial problem of malfunctioning equipment returned to haunt the cyclists and the Wheelchair competitors as they were clearly off the pace against the rest of the field.

As the curtains came down in Delhi and the Kenyan team back home, it is hoped that the team officials will make fruitful recommendations.

Preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has just started and there should be no repeat of poor preparations or malfunctioning equipment.

Sportsnewsarena.com congratulates the Kenya team for a good performance!


Evelyn Watta

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1 Australia 74 54 48 176
2 England 37 59 45 141
3 India 37 27 35 99
3 Canada 26 17 32 75
4 South Africa 12 11 10 33
5 Kenya 12 11 9 32
6 Malaysia 12 9 13 34
7 Nigeria 11 10 14 35
8 Singapore 10 10 9 29
9 Scotland 9 10 7 26
10 New Zealand 5 22 8 35
11 Cyprus 4 3 5 12
12 Northern Ireland 3 3 4 10
13 Samoa 3   1 4
14 Wales 2 7 10 19
15 Jamaica 2 4 1 7
16 Pakistan 2 1 2 5
17 Uganda 2     2
18 Bahamas 1 1 3 5
19 Sri Lanka 1 1 1 3
20 Nauru 1 1   2
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