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AK to call final verdict on Oregon Trials

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NAIROBI, Kenya, March 13- The thorny subject of the proposed Kenyan distance Olympics Trials at the June 2 Pre Fontaine Classic will be finally resolved on Thursday.

Athletics Kenya (AK) vice-chair, Lt Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei told the media on Tuesday that a decision had been arrived at and the verdict would be delivered at a press conference once his boss, Isaiah Kiplagat and secretary general David Okeyo return from Turkey.

Tuwei was speaking when he led the federation in receiving the national team to the Istanbul World Indoors that arrived back on Tuesday morning.

In leading the plaudits, the vice-chair noted the country’s best ever performance where Kenya came fourth with two gold, a silver and a bronze had laid a marker for the rest of the season.

“Congratulations to the Istanbul team for starting our year on a high. This year will be tough and we must focus on preparing our teams to perform since every other nation is seeking to improve,” Tuwei stated.

He added: “Starting with the team leaving for the Africa Cross Country on Friday, we need to ensure that the momentum is maintained through the World Junior, Africa Championships and the biggest of all, the Olympics.”

In an apparent dig to those opposing plans to stage the 5000m and 10000m Olympics Trials at the Samsung Diamond League Pre Fontaine Classic event, the retired Army chief quipped,

“You can see the athletes who performed so well in Istanbul were selected elsewhere but we shall not discuss that matter today. On Thursday, we are calling a press conference to clear the issue.”

He was alluding to the vociferous opposition to the plans mooted by the federation and sponsored by sports apparel manufacturer Nike to hold the Kenyan Trials in America.

The latest dissenting views were delivered by Kenya’s Commissioner for Sport, Gordon Oluoch who told a local daily on Monday that the idea to hold trials in a foreign land would not wash.

Retired greats such as former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat and former world 10,000m champion, Moses Tanui, have vehemently opposed the idea that is meant to see Kenya hold a mini-trial on April 17 to select the runners who will contest Olympics tickets on June 2 in Oregon.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen (Rtd) Tuwei said the pre-Olympics camp for the 5000m and 10000m runners where 64 probables were selected to train for a chance to contest an Olympics ticket in Eldoret had taken off without a hitch.

“The other vice-chairman, Paul Mutwii, was there yesterday (Monday) to formally launch the camp and a number of the selected runners reported. We expect the rest to be there by the end of this week.

“They have shown willingness to train with our coaches and this is encouraging.”

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