Athletics Kenya boasts of a strong squad ahead of the upcoming Commonwealth Games slated for Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Among the lucky ones who have booked slots for the games are emerging superstars who recently graduated from the junior team.
World U-20 championships 800m reigning champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi, 2019 East African Secondary Schools Games 1500m winner Cornelius Korir and Beatrice Chebet will be seeking to build a name for themselves in the eagerly awaited Club Games.
The Commonwealth Games could not have come at the right time for the fast-rising 800m runner. Emmanuel Wanyonyi has posted brilliant results in recent outings, outpacing some of the big names in the category.
Wanyonyi who is currently ranked number 21 in the world clinched the 800m title at the Kip Keino Classic. His impressive form recently saw him cross the finish line first at the 61st edition of the Golden Spike meeting, held in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The 17-year-old finished second at the national trials held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani behind 2018 Commonwealth Champion Wycliffe Kinyamal. Wanyonyi is seen by many athletic fans and pundits as the perfect successor for world record holder David Rudisha.
2019 World U-20 Cross Country champion Beatrice Chebet is another athlete who could surprise many in Birmingham.
The 22-year-old has had a successful season since she shot to the limelight in 2018. Chebet became the first Kenyan lady to bag the 5000m World U-20 championships title that year.
The Londian-based runner finished second behind Selah Jepleting and Margaret Chelimo at the Athletic Kenya national trials over the weekend.
Chebet boasts of a personal best of 14:34.55 which she set on July 1, 2021 in Oslo, Norway. With the absence of defending champion Hellen Obiri, Chebet is likely to make it to the podium.
Cornelius Kemboi is another underdog who is likely to produce a stunning performance in Birmingham. The St. Patrick high school alumna has a personal best of 13:04.31 which she set earlier this month at the Montreuil international meeting in France.
This will be the first time that the Uasin Gishu-born athlete will represent Kenya at a major international event. Kemboi has won various accolades at the junior level including the 2019 East African Secondary Schools games 1500m title.
Speaking to Teamkenya.co.ke, Kemboi revealed that he started training for the games in October last year.
“First, I would like to thank God for the good health I have enjoyed since I started my preparation for the Commonwealth games and the World Championships in October 2021. I know I will compete with the best athletes in Birmingham that is why I have to work hard and prepare well,” he said.
Kemboi left the country immediately after the national trials and is set to take part in the Stockholm Wanda Diamond League meeting on Thursday evening. He will compete against the likes of compatriot Boaz Kiprugut and 2020 World Half marathon Champion Jacob Kiplimo.