Nairobi – Ahead of its debut at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom, Team Kenya has prepared for the triathlon with head coach Camila Lydia, who will compete in the July 28-August 8 triathlon.
John Paul and Joseph Okal, who were at camp under the tutelage of Lydia, are joined by Aisha Nasser Baksh and Vivian Hillier, who were added to the team following the women’s Commonwealth Games trials held in Kilifi over the weekend.
“At first one of my athletes (John Paul) from Mombasa had an issue with the altitude but he has adapted well and our training is going smoothly. We are focused on the techniques and the concentration is good because there are no distractions in the camp” said the coach.
Paul, who lives in Mombasa, says the altitude difference was a big challenge for him as he has always lived and trained at low altitude.
“I’m from Mombasa, that’s zero altitude so the first week when I came to Nairobi was bad. I was struggling to breathe and almost got sick, but I’m glad that got under control and I’m fine now,” Paul said openly.
A triathlon is an endurance multisport race consisting of swimming, cycling and running over various distances, with athletes competing for the fastest overall time, completing each segment sequentially with the time transition between included disciplines.
“I try to perfect everything (swim, bike, run), especially my bike and run. My swimming is good but there is always room for improvement. As we have a track in Kasarani this will help with my runs and we have a pool to work on swimming. We also have a wonderful terrain for cycling training in Kasarani,” he concluded.
For his part, Okal is happy to be at camp where he hopes to improve his skills all round.
“So far the camp is good because we are concentrating on training and nothing else. Wake up, train, eat, sleep and repeat! I’m glad my friend and training partner John Paul is here and pushing me hard to a certain level that I’m not pushing myself to,” Okal said.
As for expectations in training and in competition, he says: “I expect to do my best personally and to make my country proud. Expect nothing but the best because I aim for huge goals and hope to achieve them. I’m perfecting my swim because when you get out of the water with the first group of guys leading the race it’s going to be an easier race and I currently feel like my swimming isn’t optimal,” added Okal.
It’s the first big games for both athletes and the pressure to perform on the big stage is scary.