Kenya is hoping to field over 70 athletes at the ITU World Multisport Championships to be held from 4th - 13th September 2020 in Almere, Netherlands. This is according to Kenya Triathlon Federation (KTF) Chief Executive, Vincent Ochieng.
"The interest in multisport has ballooned since our exploits in Pontevedra earlier this year, and that is why there's an increase in the number of people coming for the selection races across the country and hoping to make the cut for the global championships next year. This can only be a good sign for our sport going into the future." he said.
Kenya was represented by 24 athletes and 2 officials in the 2019 World Multisport Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, being an increase from just 6 athletes who attended the 2018 edition in Odense, Denmark.
"This steady increase in number of participants can be attributed to the new management of Kenya Triathlon Federation that has created more opportunities for Age-Group athletes in Kenya and and improved coverage of the sport events from the local media working closely with the Federation.", he adds.
On the weekend of 20th October, over 100 athletes competed in the first ever Kenya National Multisports Championships in the coastal town of Malindi which also doubled as the National Championships for the flagship events i.e Duathlon and Cross-Triathlon. The event was covered by all major media houses in the country, raising its profile and getting more enthusiasts on board. This is a significant step for the growth of the multisport community in a country where running and football have dominated sports headlines for decades.
Over 50 Kenyan athletes have confirmed attendance for the 2020 showdown in Almere, Netherlands, but with two more selection races to come up in February and April 2020, the federation is hopeful that many more athletes will come to compete for chance to wear white, red and green at the worlds. A majority of them will be competing in the standard and sprint duathlon distances in the age group category but about 30% of the participants will compete in age-group cross-triathlon races. There will be at least 3 kenyan athletes in the mens duathlon elite, and cross-triathlon elite fields in Almere.
Kenya won one gold medal in Pontevedra, finishing 24th overall ahead of countries such as Italy,Russia but they hope to better this performance in Almere.
"We are investing a significant amount of time and effort in our high performance programs that we currently have and we are confident of achieving some reasonable results in the very competitive elite fields in Almere. Of course we cannot match the kind of equipment and resource available to elite athletes in most parts of the world but we are not worried so much about this for now, we will just make do with what is available for us" said Vincent.