NAIROBI, May 9 – Wesley Korir, a Boston marathon winner, anti-doping activist and serving parliamentarian, was selected for Kenya’s provisional Olympics marathon squad on Monday.
Korir, who spearheaded a campaign for a bill to criminalise doping, was among 10 male and female athletes selected by Athletics Kenya ahead of August’s Rio Olympics, with three men and three women to make the final cut.
“I am honoured and promise to do my best to raise the name of my Cherangany constituency and the Kenya flag high during the Olympics. I am excited to be the first-ever sitting Member of Parliament anywhere in the world to get the opportunity to run at the Olympics,” Korir said.
Kenya is expected to put in a strong showing at the Rio Olympics, picking from a strong set of top-flight runners that includes current London marathon champions Eliud Kipchoge and Jemima Sumgong, New York marathon champion Stanley Biwott and women’s world half marathon record holder, Florence Kiplagat, who finished third in London.
Kipchoge, a former world 5,000 metre champion and Olympic silver medallist, hopes to become the second Kenyan man to win an Olympic gold in the marathon, after the late Samuel Wanjiru.
“That is the only medal I am yearning for,” said Kipchoge.
Current world record holder Dennis Kimetto and former champion Wilson Kipsang have been left out of the squad after both failed to finish at the Beijing world championships last August.
Athletics Kenya has asked all selected runners to confirm their availability by Tuesday, ahead of a three-month long high altitude training camp in Iten, in north-western Kenya.