Olympian Jason Dunford wants to make amends by winning all seven events he will contest at the Africa Swimming Championships, which start in Nairobi on Monday.
After failing in his bid to win a medal at the London Olympic Games Dunford has now set his sights on conquering the continent.
Dunford has been named in a 24 member Kenyan team that will compete in the one-week event at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani pool.
He will take part in seven events and is determined to win gold in all of them to make up for a disappointing show in London.
“I was very disappointed by my performance in London. Prior to the Olympics, I had done quite well in previous competitions and so expected to do even better.
“It began very well when I got the honour to carry the country’s flag during the opening ceremony but in retrospect, I believe the great weight of expectation could have cost me a medal in the games,” he said.
Dunford said a luck of rest may have contributed to a poor show in London.
“The whole year, I have been having a great time in the different competitions I featured in. I got too excited that I forgot to rest and this may have contributed to the below par performance,” he added.
But the double gold medallist at last year’s All Africa Games in Maputo insists the disappointment is now behind him and he is looking forward to his home competition that brings together over 15 countries.
“Prior to the Olympic games, I had trained very well and I believe it has given me the right type of preparation ahead of the continental event. I am excited to be back home to race at an altitude that makes me comfortable,” he said.
He is expecting strong opposition from South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia whose swimmers did well in London.
“These countries have some of the best swimmers on the continent and their presence in Nairobi will raise the level of competition. However, I am not sure whether South Africa will bring their top swimmers though we still expect a tough challenge in all events,” he added.
He warned against expecting too much from the Kenyan team pointing out that most of the swimmers are young and are representing the country for the first time.
The African Championships will bring together 24 countries making it the biggest ever and Dunford said it is an opportunity for the country to show what they can do. After the African championships, Dunford will embark on a World Cup tour, starting in October in Dubai.
By Gilbert Wandera, The Standard