Kenyan hurdler Mpoke seals World Championships qualifying time

United States-based Kenya’s hurdler Moitalel Mpoke has sealed the qualifying time for the World Athletics Championships due for July 15 to 24 in Oregon, United States.

Mpoke, the 2017 World Under-18 400m hurdles silver medallist, qualified after he successfully defended his 400m hurdles title after clocking 48.84 seconds during the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Championships on Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi.

Mpoke, who was representing the Texas A&M team, edged out teammate James Smith to second place in 49.41 as Corde Long from Alabama settled third in 49.59.

Mpoke’s winning time that was his season’s best and surpassed the World Athletics Championships qualifying time of 48.90 seconds.

Mpoke had settled second in the heats in 50.01 on Thursday when the three-day event started.

“I had a groin injury coming to this event, but I had faith in God that I would perform well and defend my title,” said the 21-yeat-old Mpoke, who also had set a target of sub 50 seconds in the race.

“I didn’t feel any discomfort in the groin while scaling the hurdles and that is why I decided to hit the track with power,” said Mkope, who is confident of representing Kenya at the world event.

“I knew it would come after I ran 48.99 sec at Alumni Muster, Texas on April 30,” said Mpoke, who will compete at the Regional Championships next weekend before the National Championships.

Mpoke also wants to fly Kenya’s flag at the Commonwealth Games slated from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, United Kingdom if given the chance.

“All I want is to stay healthy as well as adhere to the anti-doping procedure. I didn’t want to miss that big stage again,” said Mpoke, adding that the anti-doping officials tested him two weeks ago.

Mpoke qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but was knocked out after he failed to meet some of the World Athletics anti-doping requirements.

Any Kenyan athlete hoping to take part at the Olympics and World Athletics Championships must go through three out of competition tests that include one blood test to qualify.

Mpoke is the second Kenyan sprinter to qualify for the World Athletics Championships after 100m sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala.

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