Kenyans race walkers Gathimba and Ngii eye redemption in Commonwealth Games

Africa 20 kilometers race walking champions Samuel Gathimba and Emily Ngii are hoping to redeem themselves at the Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England where the discipline is shortened to 10km.

The duo missed out on medals in the 20km Walk at the World Athletics Championships which ended on Sunday in Eugene, USA.

Gathimba, who came closest to a medal after finishing fourth in Eugene, has predicted a fierce battle in Birmingham.

"I arrived here (UK) on Tuesday night to a very cold Birmingham. I hope the weather will improve. I'll start training on Wednesday. I have never done 10km walk abroad, so this will be my first time. The challenge with 10km is it's like 'ugali sosa' (not the main meal), so it will be very fast.

I need to get my calculations right in order to win. Doing so will also help me get invited more to competitions," said Gathimba.

He timed one hour, 19 minutes and 25 seconds just a few seconds behind medalists Toshikazu Yamanishi (1:19:07), Koki Ikeda (1:1914) and Perseus Karlstrom (1:19:18).

Ngii struggled with a stomach ache from 10km-mark on her way to 30th place finish.

"I have improved a lot after getting treatment. I'm ready. It's the first time I'm competing in 10km outside Kenya and I'm ready to bring a medal bad home, God willing," said Ngii.

Walk coach Benjamin Mbusya also expressed optimism in the duo.

"Obviously, some competition has been reduced because not all countries that were at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon are in Commonwealth Games. But I can assure you that we will get some medals and gold is possible," he said.

Gathimba won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia and bagged the same medal at the Race Walking World Championships in Oman in March this year. 

posted Friday July 29th
by Geoffrey Anene