NAIROBI, May 13 – Athletics Kenya has announced tough new measures to ensure that athletes are well prepared for this year’s Beijing Olympics.
The athletics association has selected 119 athletes who will proceed to camp in Eldoret on May 20 for training ahead of the Olympic Games.
AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said on Tuesday that all selected athletes must attend the camp or miss out on the Olympics.
“Every athlete selected must report to camp on May 20 and if they are not there by the deadline then they will be left out of the Olympic trials. We are not going to favour anyone. Whether you are the best in the world today or a favourite in Beijing, you must attend the camp or be left out,” said Kiplagat.
He warned that agents who prevent their athletes from joining up the camp will also be dealt with accordingly.
“If an agent, coach or manager stops an athlete from going to camp, then AK shall ban him from representing Kenyan athletes with immediate effect,” he warned.
Kiplagat added that all athletes and managers must submit their plans for the year to head coach Julius Kirwa.
“We must have a unified programme and Kirwa must know what programmes athletes have. Both training and competition programmes so that he is able to monitor which athlete has done enough for the season or which athlete needs a break,” he said.
He however clarified that the athletes will still be allowed to compete in grand prix meets but they will have to consult with Kirwa on their season’s plans, "We asked the managers and athletes to present their year’s plans in February and we shall use that as a guideline."
Kiplagat said the decision to have the athletes in a training camp had been arrived at after a 10 hour meeting with local coaches on Monday.
The meeting, he said had been convened to help prepare for the games in China.
“In the past, we have been accused of having haphazard preparations and it is our goal to change that. Having a Kenyan athlete get lapped in Addis Ababa was a wake up call and we must heed it,” he observed.
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) will fund the training camp to the tune of Sh2 million.
“We requested NOCK for assistance to prepare the team and they have agreed to pay for the team’s accommodation and food at Chepkoilel campus. AK on the other hand will cater for the allowances.” He said.
Among the athletes included in the list are World 800 metres champion Janeth Jepkosgei, Africa 800 metres champion Pamela Jelimo, World 5,000 metres silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot, Priscah Cherono, Viola Kibiwott, Eunice Jepkorir and Edith Masai.
Other include; World 800 metres champion Alfred Kirwa, Africa and World Junior champion David Rudisha, Commonwealth champion Alex Kipchirchir, Africa 1500 metres champion Haron Keitany, World 3,00metres steeplechase Brimin Kipruto, Africa champion Richard Mateelong, World Cross Country silver medallist Leonard Patrick Komon and Moses Masai.
The athletes will be handled by a team of 18 led by Kirwa. Other coaches include Paul Mutwii, Patrick Sang, Moses Kiptanui, Boniface Tiren, Caroline Kola, Jospeh Mosonik, David Lamai, George Kariuki, Jospeh Chelimo, David Leting, Steven Mwaniki, John Anzrah and Pater Mathu.