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Athletics

Meet the USA-based Kenyan athlete seeking Commonwealth history

Linda Oseso in the cage during a training session at Kasarani
  • Linda Oseso will be representing Kenya for the first time in seven years
  • She hopes to win a rare fields medal for Kenya in Birmingham
  • Kenya has over 140 athletes in Birmingham

Kenya is not a country known to produce many medal-winning athletes outside track. At the last Commonwealth Games staged in Gold Coast, Australia, Kenya had only one medalist outside track; Christine Ongare winning bronze in women’s boxing in the featherweight category.

Heading to the 2022 Club Games in Birmingham United Kingdom, Kenya will look to expand its medal horizons and one of those looking towards winning a medal outside track is USA-based hammer thrower Linda Oseso.

Despite the fact that her world ranking maybe far off from the top in the world, Oseso is optimistic she can battle to be among the medals in Birmingham.

Oseso came back home and competed at the Kenyan trials for the Commonwealth Games where she won and has since remained in Nairobi training with the rest of the team before departing for the UK.

Last time in Kenya was 2014

Linda Oseso all smiles during a training session at Kasarani

“Last time I was here was for the trials in the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow. It is interesting to be back again with the same team, similar people are still here competing and representing the country,” Oseso said during her final training session in Nairobi.

Oseso has a personal best of 60.80m  from ten years ago, and now  she is focussed on improving that mark.

Oseso was born in Kenya in 1990 and moved to the United States at the age of 11. She grew up in the Bay Area, California before moving to her current base in Seattle City, Washington DC State where she attended graduate school.

Her initial sport was basketball and only landed in athletics by chance. During one of her gym sessions as a basketballer, she dropped an 11kgs dumbbell on her foot.

“Because of the long injury lay off, a friend of mine asked me if I was interested in doing track and field in the spring because basketball is a winter sport and I said yes! Why not?” she explains.

That is how she transitioned from basketball to shot put and discus.

Fell in love with shotput

Linda Oseso works on her fitness during a training session at Kasarani

“I fell in love with shotput and discus, and eventually in my junior or senior year, a coach from the university UC Berkeley saw me at a track and field championship and told me, hey, I think you could be a good hammer thrower,” she continued.

Oseso was not sure about hammer throwing but was willing to learn. In 2007 and 2008, she got the opportunity to throw in college championships.

Her first competition for team Kenya was the Africa senior championships in 2010 in Nairobi where she finished fifth.

She has since taken part in eight Africa championships, and winning the national championships four times. She then competed for Kenya until 2014, when she took a break after taking part in two Commonwealth Games competitions in Delhi India in 2010 and Glasgow, Scotland in 2014.

After her return, she has taken part in the Africa championship that was held in Mauritius in June 2022. This she says was to gauge herself ahead of the Commonwealth games.

“My target at the Commonwealth games is to do my best. I want to come out and represent the country well. I’m excited and honoured to be here,” she said.

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