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Kenya Finalizes Athletes Competing for Beijing Olympics
    2008-07-07 10:51:47     CRIENGLISH.com

Kenya has recently held a national athletics trial, during which around 40 athletes have reached the finals to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games. The athletes say they are excited about the results and expect to perform well in Beijing. CRI's Nairobi correspondent Wei Tong attended the trial and filed this report.


The men's 3-thousand-meter steeplechase final begins with the bang of the starting gun. Around five or six runners sprint ahead until Ezekiel Kemboi, the Athens Olympic champion, dashes across the finishing line first as the crowd of spectators cheers.

Kemboi has secured his place at the Olympics! He cannot contain his excitement.

"I am very happy, because my timing has been so good for the Olympics. And I think I've made my goals. And I think Beijing will be a very nice city. I love China, and I think when I go to China, I must win there."

Lucy Wangui Kabuu won a gold medal in the women's 10-thousand-meter relay at the Commonwealth Games in 2006. She has won again in the same event at the trial.

She was not invited to compete in the national trials at the Osaka World Championship in Japan. But she says she expects much from the Beijing Olympics in the women's 800-meter, fifteen-hundred-meter and 10-thousand-meter races.

"I was so disheartened when I didn't go to the World Championship in Japan last year. Maybe this year I'll have a good plan. I went to Athens in 2004, so I also have been eager to go to this Olympics in Beijing. I have worked hard to win a gold medal, because it is not only for Ethiopians or other people. It is for everybody."

Around 40 Kenyan athletes have been selected to participate in the Olympics next month.

Hellen Sambili, the country's Minister for Youth and Sports, congratulate the athletes and wishes them good luck. She will attend the opening ceremony on August 8th in Beijing to cheer them on.

"I think it is a wonderful team with very high standards. I know records were broken here. So my message to the athletes is that they should bring home more gold from this Olympics than from previous ones."

The athletes selected to compete in the Olympics will spend half a month training in suburban Nairobi and head for Beijing in late July.

Wei Tong, CRI News, Nairobi, Kenya.



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