Kurume, Japan — Kenya’s sprint trio of Ferdinand Omanyala, Mark Otieno and Hellen Syombua arrived in Kurume this morning after a long and tedious journey to start their 10-day training camp ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The three who were accompanied by middle distance running coach Bernard Ouma were welcomed with song and dance by their fellow Team Kenya athletes as well as few members of the local community.
For Omanyala and Otieno, the 100m duo who earned qualification at the Kenyan trials, the dream is finally coming true as they prepare for their first ever appearance at the Olympic Games.
“It has been a really long journey. Two days of travelling is not easy but we are pleased that we are finally here. For now its just to settle in then tomorrow we start off the work with some gym work then we progress slowly,” Otieno said.
He added; “We have like eight days of confirmed training here so it will be a very good time for us. I love the weather because it is hot. Nairobi was too cold and now finally we have some warmth. I believe they will be good conditions for me.”
Meanwhile, compatriot Omanyala, the national record holder is also excited after earning the Olympic ticket having jumped many hurdles, including a possible exclusion by Athletics Kenya over a past doping violation.
“I am really happy to be here finally despite a very long journey. We are a bit tired but we will have to take the day off and rest. I am excited as we prepare to start training. I feel strong, I feel fast and we should be ready for good results,” added the 25-year old University student.
The Athletics program at the Tokyo Olympics guns off on July 30, but Otieno and Omanyala will be in action the following day in the preliminary rounds.
Syombua will start her campaign on July 3.
“I am really excited to be here. I can’t wait to start training and condition my body to acclimatize. I feel really well and hopefully we start the competition well. My target is to at least get to the semi-finals,” Syombua, who was in Japan at the 2019 World Relays in Yokohama said.
-Alex Isaboke is reporting from Kurume CIty, Japan