Trailblazing Tanki targets maiden Africa cross country and Olympics

Trailblazing Julius Tanki has high hopes of representing the nation at the Africa Cross country championships in Lome, Togo as well as the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The former Japan-based runner is preparing for the national trials on Saturday at Ngong Racecourse, willing to feature into Kenya Team, for the first time to wear national colours.

“It has been a long journey for me, running many races across the country but I have failed to represent Kenya on any championships. I have had good races, winning locally but when it comes to national trials, I fail to cut into the team,” said Tanki.

The Bomet based runner trains alongside world under 20 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett.

He won the South Rift Athletics Kenya Cross country title held a fortnight ago to qualify for the national trials when he cut the tape in 28:34 for the 10km title ahead of Leonard Lang’at in 28:35 minutes before Edwin Kosgei from Bomet completed the podium timing 29:02.

“With his top form, Tanki has confidence of cutting into the Africa cross country team before focusing on track ahead Olympic Games.

“My mind, spirit and focus is on Africa title, not even the national trials. I know it is a mean championship but that is not a big deal for me,” said Tanki.

He will be making his debut in cross country following his dominance on the track.

“This is my year of prosperity. Am in top form waiting for the material day to take effect and get the title. I will be making my debut in cross country with big results awaiting,” added Tank.

At the same time, he said he will save the country from the blushes of missing out on winning 5,000m race since 1988 by John Ngugi in Seoul, Korea.

“I want to save Kenya and come home with gold when I will take on the track in Tokyo. Am so good on the track,” added Tanki as he puts his final touches ahead of Saturday show.

Kenya won silver through Kipchoge Keino in 1968, Paul Bitok in 1992 and 1996 before Eliud Kipchoge did in 2008. Bronze were won by Naftali Temo in 1968, Eliud Kipchoge in 2004 and Thomas Longosiwa in 2012.

Women seniors will be represented by Ivyene Chepkemoi who won the title in 32:30 ahead of Jackline Cherotich (32:30) and Emmaculate Anyango (33:23).

For the juniors, the South Rift, which has become the grooming region for juniors will be represented by Joseph Too who won the 8km title ahead of Emmanuel Kiprotich (23:07) and Kiprono Sitonik (23:09) while Maurine Cherotich will lead junior ladies following her victory in 19:14, Ednah Jebitok (19:15) and Fancy Cherono (19:31).

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