The 2015 African Games 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa anchored Kenya’s 4x400m to victory in their heat to storm the final in athletics at the ongoing Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium.
Team Kenya head coach Julius Kirwa was forced to make changes at the last minute when Olympic and world 800m champion Emmanuel Korir, who was to compete, went missing.
Mweresa rallied from three places behind, taking down India Trinidad and Tobago to win heat two in season’s best three minutes and 06.76 seconds.
India settled second in 3:06.97 as Trinidad and Tobago came third in 3:07.22.
Defending champions Botswana won heat one in 3:05.11, beating Jamaica and Zambia to second and third places in 3:05.20 and 3:06.02 respectively.
It’s Wiseman Were who was the first man on the blocks to hand over the baton to William Rayan in third place before he stepped up, handing over the baton to William Mbevi in second place.
Mbevi fell back one place in the last changeover to Mweresa, who injected in some pace to swing to the lead at the last bend before winning.
The quartet of David Kitur, Samson Kitur, Simeon Kipkemboi and Stephen Mwanzia is the last to win the 4x400m title for Kenya during the 1990 Auckland Games in New Zealand.
Kenya had won three 4x400m titles back-to-back starting with the inaugural Edinburgh Games in Scotland before the 1974 Christchurch, New Zealand and 1978 Edmonton, Canada Games.
After the 1990 exploits, Kenya has only claimed one medal from the Games since then, the silver medal from the 2010 Delhi Games, India.
“We took it easy just to put our foot in the final before planning how we shall pitch for a medal. We hope that medal will be gold,” said Rayan. “We are really prepared and ready for the final.”
Rayan said staying focused and having a settled mind will deliver victory for Kenya.
Mbevi, who fell at the exchange was wheeled out of the arena for medical attention.
“I am not in a position to tell you where Korir went. We have been looking for him but couldn’t locate him,” said Kirwa.
However, Korir, who won his 400m heat but got disqualified for lane infringement, is drawn in the men’s 800m final at the Silesia leg of the Diamond League on Saturday in Poland.
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