NAIROBI, July 3 – The crème de la crème of Kenyan athletics will be on show at Nyayo national stadium on Friday as they battle for places in the Olympic squad at the national athletics trials.
It will be battle royale in the two day event as more than 350 athletes fight for the limited places available for next month’s games in Beijing.
The men and women’s 20km walk will start off proceedings at 7am with Africa champion Grace Wanjiru seeking revenge after last week’s loss to bronze medallist Mary Njoki at the national championships.
In the men’s race, David Kimutai will be looking to hit qualifying time in the race which will take place on Aerodrome road.
The day’s showpiece race will be the women’s 10,000 metres final that will be held at 10am.
Commonwealth games 10,000 metres champion Evelyn Wambui, World Cross Country bronze medallist Linet Masai, Africa 5,000metres bronze medallist Grace Momanyi, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lucy Kabuu, 2007 national cross country champion Florence Kiplagat, Doris Changeywo, Lineth Chepkirui and the ageless Edith Masai will all be fighting for the three slots in the team.
Athletics Kenya (AK) Secretary General David Okeyo said Thursday that there will be heats in the men’s 800 metres.
“We have 14 athletes who have hot qualifying time and if they all confirm participation, then we shall have to have heats,” he said.
The race will however be without Africa and World Junior champion David Rudisha who is nursing a calf strain.
American based Boaz Lalang will get his first taste of the trials in heat one where the 19 year old will line up against former World Indoor champion Wilfred Bungei and national champion Edwin Letting in heat one.
World 800 metres champion Alfred Kirwa Yego will be in heat two with Justus Koech, and Richard Kiplagat his main challengers.
Okeyo added that all the other races will be straight finals that will be held on Saturday.
There will also be two field events at the trials.
“We shall have long jump for both men and women and javelin for both men and women because we feel that we have athletes who have the ability to qualify in those events,” observed Okeyo.
Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka will be the guest of honour on Saturday and he will hand over the national flag to the junior team which departs for World junior Athletics Championships in Poland on Saturday night.
The selected team will move to camp on July 7 at Kasarani where they will camp till August 3 when they will depart for China.