, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan – Athletics Kenya (AK) dodged a potential bullet on Tuesday after naming 12 elite runners in their provisional marathon squad for the London Olympics.
The federation stated the final squad of six-three male and an equal number of female competitors would be announced after the end of the European Spring marathon season on April 30.
As expected, world record holder, Patrick Makau, Boston and New York champion, Geoffrey Mutai, double world gold winner, Abel Kirui, Chicago titleholder Moses Mosop, Frankfurt champion Wilson Kipsang and World Majors crown holder, Emmanuel Mutai got the nod in the men’s line-up.
World titleholder, Edna Kiplagat, London winner Mary Keitany, Berlin winner Florence Kiplagat, Daegu silver winner Priscah Jeptoo, the bronze winner in Korea Sharon Cherop and surprise inclusion veteran Lydia Cheromei who came second at last year’s Dubai Marathon were named as the women’s probables.
“Arriving at the names was not easy since 150 men and 50 women made the A-Standard qualifications. Selectors looked at consistency, the ability to win without pace making, discipline and commitment to represent the country when deciding the names,” AK chief, Isaiah Kiplagat told a packed news conference.
Consequently, the federation gave the probables a week to declare their interest in accepting the London invitation with veteran coach David Letting appointed as the interim head coach for the team.
“We have come up with a programme and we request them to bring their programmes so that we see whether they suit the plan we have of winning both marathon titles in London.
“We shall be having progress reports every two weeks and for now, we saw it fit not to name the final squad so that we could put those selected under observation. This time, we have decided to start preparing early since the Olympics are a special event,” Kiplagat added.
The announcement gives the identified athletes whose 2012 programme was in limbo as they awaited the naming time to organise their competition and training plans.
London 2012 organisers put 2:15:00 and 2:37:00 as the A-Standards for the men and women marathon races and with the huge number of Kenyan runners who dipped under the marks in the period under review, AK deemed it fit to make the early declaration.
At the same time, the federation delayed the naming of the probable squads in the men and women 5,000m and 10,000m races until after the February 18 IAAF Permit/AK National Cross Country Championships.
“We would have also told you the athletes we expected to go to camp to prepare for these races since we saw the wisdom of specially preparing for them as opposed to lumping them at the Trials in June.
“A separate Trial will be held for them in May to select the final squad to give them adequate time to prepare for the Olympics since we do not want to miss the opportunity to win this medals that we feel we should be winning,” the chairman stated.
The marathoners were selected after a Technical Meeting on Monday having been postponed from the beginning of January.