Mokamba upstages Nkanata but both seal Beijing berths

By: AYUMBA AYODI

The 200m national champion Mike Mokamba outclassed Kenyan record-holder Carvin Nkanata to win the 200m race during the World Championships trials at Kasarani Saturday.

Mokamba, 19, eased off to victory in personal best 20.48 seconds, which was the fastest time on Kenyan soil. US-based Nkanata, who holds the Kenyan record time of 20.14, clocked 20.82 to settled second as Peter Mwai came in third in 20.90.

The performances were enough to see Mokamba and Nkanata claim the World Championships slots, having surpassed the qualifying mark of 20.50. Mokamba, who is the national 100m champion and record-holder (10.23), timed 20.50 to win at the Nationals two weeks ago and make the Worlds time.

Mwai’s performance places him in the team for the African Games where Mokamba and Nkanata will also compete after the World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing, China.

“It feels great to make the World Championships,” said Mokamba, who appealed to Athletics Kenya to help them secure a low altitude training base probably at Nkanata’s base in Florida, USA.

“The Likes of Alphas Kishioyan (400m) improved greatly after he trained briefly in Florida before the nationals,” said Mokamba, who hopes to represent Kenya strongly in Beijing. “My dream is to reach the final in Beijing and go on to win a medal at the African Games.”

Mokamba said he will polish on his starts before the Worlds. “I think that is where my weakness is. My entire race is great but I need to up my reaction off the blocks” said Mokamba.

Nkanata was elated about the experience of competing in Kenya for the first time. “The heavy weather could have affected my performance but I am happy to represent my country again,” said Nkanata, who reached the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games before winning bronze at Africa Championships last year.

“Mokamba is an incredible athlete but I’m sure Kenya can produce more if more athletes are exposed,” said Nkanata, who is targeting to reach the final in Beijing and win African Games.

FELL SHORT

The women fell short in qualifying for the Worlds with Eunice Kadogo returning 23.66 and Maurine Thomas 23.82. National champion and record-holder Joyce Sakari, who had won at nationals with a World Championships qualifying time of 22.40, didn’t take part in the trials.

Sakari should get a node to the Worlds while Kadogo and Thomas will focus on the African Games.

Two-time Africa bronze medallist Boniface Mucheru, who is also the national champion, and Nicholas Bett prevailed in the 400m hurdles to make it to the World Championships. Bett won the trials in 48.29, beating Mucheru to second place in 49.24. Third-placed Haron Koech also was within the Worlds time in 49.50.

Bett fell short of breaking the national record currently being held by Eric Keter from the 1993 World Championships by 0.05 seconds.