Kenya is known for producing record shattering long distance athletes in the world. However, when it comes to sprinters, the country has traditionally performed dismally. Mark Otieno is one of the few sprinters who is keen on disabusing the notion that Kenyans are only wired for long distance races.
His chosen path was not going to be easy, something he came to attest to. However, his determination to succeed in the sport is paying off if the recent sponsorship by Safaricom amounting to kes1 million is anything to go by. For an athlete who had to borrow shoes to compete in races, this was a major boost.
“I work an 8 to 5 and balance it off with training. It’s a tough lifestyle but with no sponsors , I can’t sorely rely on my track career to make ends meet,” he said.
He would feel envious whenever he saw how other people had a number of facilities at their disposal while he had none. He then decided to visit a local wielder and created some tools: boxes and some hurdles to use for drills. He stopped focusing on what he lacked and put emphasis on appreciating what he could accomplish with the little he had.
“………..I finally made a choice, picked myself up, got some money, went to a local welder and created some tools: plyometric boxes and some hurdles to use for drills. By changing my attitude I’ve been able to get my eyes off what I lack and actually be grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish with so little,” the athlete told the Standard.
He was born on 11 May 1993.
Background and Education
He grew up in Sega, a rural area in Western Kenya. Later, he attended high school in Nairobi where he actively participated in athletics and played football. He tried just about every sport in school, even a decathlon.
In 2015, he clocked 10.1 to finish second in the Kenyan trials for the world championship in Beijing.
In 2016 he lowered his position to 10.39 to finish second at the Kenyan championships.
I’m 2017, he clocked the Kenyan record of 10.14 to win the national 100m title in Nairobi which created a space for him at the 2017 world championships.
Last year’s summer marathon was postponed due to Covid-19 but he is hopeful of competing in this year’s competition.
Before the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, he worked in human resources with Kenya’s National Postal Service. The job was put on hold owing to the Covid-19 and he had to wait for a while before he could resume.
His coach is Owen Anderson, who resides in Michigan, USA. He conducts trainings with Otieno via whatsapp, emails and videos.
The 28 year old is married to Stephanie Muluka Odhiambo. Before the country went into its first lockdown, the couple trained at Kasarani stadium. However, they had to be inventive after the stadium was closed down and gyms declared a no go zone. A school close to where they lived offered them the use of their grounds and they could not have been more thrilled with the opportunity.
Mark Otieno has been suspended in taking part in 100m after a test carried on 28 July returned an adverse analytical finding for anabolic androgenic steroid during the Tokyo Olympics. Kenya’s Chef de mission in Tokyo Waithaka Kioni said the sprinter had “denied any knowledge of the violation and has subsequently requested a re-analysis of his B urine sample.”