• Reuters

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Kenya unveiled its squad for the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday with a list of more than 40 athletes including world champion Hellen Obiri and defending 1,500-meter Olympic gold-medalist Faith Chepngetich.

Notable names missing were 1,500-meter world champion Timothy Cheruiyot and defending Olympics 3,000-meter steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto after both failed to win their trials.

The East African nation is an athletics powerhouse and boasts some of the world’s top athletes, who regularly win medals at elite competitions in Europe, Asia and North America.

“The race was good,” Obiri said, after winning her 10,000-meter trial on Saturday.

“I have no pressure. I will be facing familiar opponents in Tokyo. I am used to fast-paced races and all I am going to do is continue with my training,” she added, according to comments shared on Twitter by Athletics Kenya.

Obiri will be looking to secure an Olympic double in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter distances.

Team Kenya is sending a formidable squad for the games that also includes marathon-distance world-record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei.

“I am confident our teams will perform better this year as the athletes showcase the training they had during the long break occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sports Minister Amina Mohamed.

Also in the team is Geoffrey Kamworor who will compete in the men’s 10,000. Faith Chepngetich, who won her trial race on Thursday, will head to Tokyo as well to defend the 1,500 title she won in 2016 in Rio.

“I know I will meet many good athletes in Tokyo but I have prepared really well,” she said.

Also among the Olympians will be Ferdinand Omanyala who qualified in the 100m with a 10.02 seconds run, a new national record.

Team Kenya plans to fly out to Japan on July 5 to set up camp in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, ahead of the games’ July 23 start.

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