Brazil is arguably the most inspirational team at the world relays in Silesia

Dos Santos of Brazil in action. Photo by World Athletics

Brazil, and other countries including India, are some of the countries that have been hugely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, and it was great to see them able to make it to the world relays. It should be a great inspiration to the rest of the world that it is possible to fight the virus and return back to our normal lives again, by following the set rules and guidelines by our medical experts. That the world has not yet come to an end and we can still play, enjoy life and stay active again.

Sometimes, when an election draws near, politicians employ many tricks to win the hearts of the electorates. One of them is that of acting as victims of some circumstances in order to gain some “sympathy votes.”

One of the sad moments on the first day was that of Brazil getting disqualified in heat one of the women’s 4x100m relay. Considering that other nations, like the USA and Jamaica, opted to stay out of the championships due to the pandemic, and the number of tests and commitment that the Brazilian team endured to appear at the relays, perhaps the officials should have looked at the incident where one of the runners stepped on the line more leniently.

Live Streaming link to the 2021 World Relays in Silesia, Poland

 

USA and Jamaica’s absence at the 2021 World Relays could result in a more successful outing for Kenya

Team Kenya heading out for the world relays (Photo by Athletics Kenya)

The prospect for Kenya’s team that is already in Selesia and ready to represent their nation tomorrow looks more promising than it had ever been in the last editions of the world relays.

At the last world relays in Yokohama, USA had placed on top of the medal table with 22 gold medals followed by Jamaica with 5 and Kenya was in the third position with 3 gold medals. With the absence of both the USA and Jamaica at the Silesia world relays, Kenya stands a better chance of emerging on top of the medal table.

Already Kenya, Germany, and Poland have guaranteed medals to win in the mixed shuttle relays, to start off their medal hunt on the first day, if only their athletes finish the event, and are not disqualified. This is a relatively new event at the world relays where two men and two women on each team run 110m hurdle legs. There are only three countries that are entered in the event that will be one of the two finals on the first day of the championships, and three medals to be given out!

The other final of the first day (1st May) will be the 2X2X400m mixed relay. Six countries have entered the event. Kenya appears to have a strong field here with the world 800m bronze medalists, Ferguson Rotich and Commonwealth 800m champion, Wyclife Kinyamal featuring in their team. At the last world relays in Yokohama, Kenya had led from the start only to be disqualified in the end under rule 163.6. The main opponent for Kenya here will be the host nation of Poland that also has a considerably strong team and the home ground as an added advantage.

There will be seven finals on the second day, the 2nd of May: The day will feature the more established and well know relays that have more countries entered in them and that will have their heats being done on the first day. These will be the 4x400m mixed relays, and the men and women 4x 100m, 4x200m, and 4x400m.

The Kenyan team may be affected by the fact that a number of their best runners including Zablon Ekwam and Hellen Syombua were left behind due to various undisclosed reasons.

Running under the COVID 19 darkness brings up childhood memories, and soul searching, for me

Getting ready for my run

In my primary school days in the 1990s, I lived around 5km away from my school. School rules required that the pupils in the upper primary classes report to school by 5:30AM in the morning. There were three pressure lamps that we would use to light up the room and revise before there would be enough natural light from the rising sun.

However, we had a problem. No one had a watch. This won’t come as a surprise given that we were actually running to school in total darkness, not knowing what time it was, barefooted.

There was a man called Jonjo, who lived conveniently on a hill and had a small radio. He would at times pierce the night’s silence by shouting and announcing the time at exactly 4am to wake up the rest of us who had neither a radio nor a watch. He was not reliable though, and at times when he would oversleep, many pupils ended up getting late for school and getting punished.

At times I would make a terrible mistake of thinking that it was already 4AM and would go to school as early as 1AM. The watchman would ask me to go back home but remembering the scary bushes, the dark insecure bridge I had to cross at the river, and dogs I had survived to reach school, I would gladly opt to just sleep on the classroom’s cold cemented floor until other pupils would arrive.

Now, I have all the shoes and a GPS-enabled watch, but still, I do not know when the next opportunity to race will present itself.