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Kenya on track for Melbourne

27 Feb 06 06:54
Wilfred Bungei of Kenya in the men's 800m semi at the 10th IAAF World Athletics Championships. 

Wilfred Bungei of Kenya in the men's 800m semi at the 10th IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Members of Kenya’s Commonwealth Games team have made good use of their final outings before heading to compete in Melbourne.

The team is set to depart for Australia this week, after a successful round of competition at the weekend sent a warning signal that they would be a team to watch.

In an International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) indoor meet in Greece, Wilfred Bungei resisted a strong challenge from Ukraine’s Ivan Hesko to win the 800 metres.

Bungei took the lead after the first two laps and never looked back, clocking a moderate 1:48.12 for the win and leaving Heshko settling for second in a time of 1:48.32.

Fellow runners Benjamin Limo and Augustine Choge are also in their final Games preparations, heading to a Nairobi team camp before they look to take the 1-2 in the 5000m event at the MCG.

They’ll join the rest of the team already in camp at the Moi International Sports Centre, including former Rugby Sevens captains Oscar Osir Osula and Benjamin Ayimba, who arrived after being recalled from their UK club in a bid to boost Kenya’s challenge in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, in a Swimming challenge in Kasarani, Nasra Shehan took home gold and silver while Rachita Shah broke a nine-year record to show the Kenyan challenge in the pool is in safe hands.

Shehan won the girls open 200m Individual Medley in two minutes 57.84 seconds, and then picked up silver when she finished second in the girls open 100m Breaststroke in 1 minute 30.05 seconds.

"I’m satisfied with my performance. To win gold and silver isn't bad results," Shehan said.

Rachita Shah was forced to swim against the clock, as the only competitor in the 200m Butterfly. She finished in 3:07.12, eclipsing the previous mark of 3:07.26 set by Maria Awori nine years ago.

"The weather encouraged me a lot because it was cool. I kept going on and on to the end," Shah said.

Hanika Patel, 13, caused an upset in the 200m Freestyle when she beat favourites including Pina Ercolano to win the race in an open record of 2:35.15.

Shehan will represent Kenya in Melbourne alongside Ramadhan Vyombo and the UK-based Amar Shah and David Dunford.

And Technical mountain biker and off-road cyclist David Kamau has put in his best form to dethrone his captain, David Kinja, in the 10 To 4 Mount Kenya Mountain Bike Challenge.

Gear and chain problems at the start of the race cost Kinja the title, forcing him into second place and helping Kamau home in 1:47.45, in his first appearance at the event.

The two will head to Melbourne to spearhead the Kenyan Cycling Challenge.

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