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Eugene test for London 10000m hopefuls arrives

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EUGENE, Oregon, May 29- The rumble for men 10000m Kenyan Olympics tickets is on Friday at a special race that will be the curtain raiser for the Pre Fontaine Classic in Eugene Oregon, the fourth stop of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League.

The 14 athletes who were selected during the min trial in Nairobi on April 17, arrived in Eugene and stressed they were set for the final selection here and that they had prepared well having attained the Olympics qualifying mark.

Only three among them will get the coveted London slots with those who do not prevail in Eugene having a last chance to make the squad at the men 5000m Trials mid July.

“We had humble time and all assistance from Athletics Kenya and National Olympic Committee to prepare for this race right from the training camp in Eldoret and now it is our turn to defend ourselves in the track,” African 5000m bronze winner, Mark Kiptoo, who was the captain of the national Cross Country team in 2008 and 2009, said.

The Masai brothers, elder Moses, who won the Kenyan pre-Trial to mark his return from injury and World Junior 10000m titleholder Dennis are also in high spirits to take on one another for this hotly contested final selection.

Former 5000m men world champion Eliud Kipchoge who has switched to this event is also in Oregon seeking a third straight Olympics showing and says the climate seems to be good and having competed in the US before, he expects to be among the top challengers.

Last year’s silver medalist at the Punta Umbria World Cross Paul Tanui joined the team on Tuesday afternoon from his base in Japan and confirmed that he had prepared well for the event despite missing his earlier flight here.

All Africa Games 10000m silver medalist, Bedan Karoki another Japan based athlete had travelled with the rest of the athletes from Kenya having partly trained in Eldoret.

Micah Kogo who won bronze in this race during the last Olympics in Beijing is raring to go and hopes to secure a place to represent the country once again in London.

The World Half and Africa 10000m gold medalist Wilson Kiprop together with youthful Lucas Rotich, Josphat Bett, Emmanuel Bett, Geoffrey Kirui and Titus Mbishei will also be out to stamp their authority in this eagerly anticipated race.

Other than the 10000m men a slew of top Kenyan distance runners have also pitched camp in Eugene for the Diamond Race as well as securing Olympics qualifying times.

The 2006 Commonwealth titleholder, Lucy Kabuu touched down on Tuesday and confirmed that she will be running 10000m women to attain the qualifying time before the women’s final selection for this event in Nairobi during Nationals Championships alongside Caroline Nyakagwa who won the Thika and Mumias domestic circuit races.

The Kenyan athletes moved from Portland after training at the Nike Campus for two sessions and in Eugene at Valley Inn Hotel near the stadium where they will compete.

Top runners from other countries for various events include world 5000m champion, Mo Farah, of Britain and two-time World Indoor champion, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan.

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