NAIROBI, Kenya, July 22 – President Mwai Kibaki will grace this year’s national athletics trials scheduled for Saturday.
The head of state will be among thousands of Kenya watching as the country’s crème de la crème battle it out for a place in the team for the world Championships.
More than250 athletes will be on show in what is easily considered the toughest athletics meet outside a world or Olympics championships.
Releasing details on Wednesday, Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said that the association will keep faith with the selection criteria used to select last year’s Olympic squad.
“The first two across the line will automatically get selected while the third one will be picked by a panel of selectors. And only those how have hit qualifying times will be allowed to compete on Saturday,” he said.
He advised athletes who have made the qualifying mark in more than one race to stick to their specialty, “We want them to compete in their best race so that we can put together a strong team as possible.”
All world champions have a wild card to their events but Kiplagat said that the law stipulates that they must compete at the trials, “Even if you have a wild card, IAAF demands that you compete at the trials so Alfred Kirwa, Janeth Jepkosgei and Brimin Kipruto will all run.”
Just like at last year’s trials, doping tests will also be carried out with the results expected back before the team’s departure for Berlin.
Meanwhile, Joyce Zakary who posted a personal best time of 51.56 at last weekend’s meet in Abuja will be entered in the World Championships.
Zakary’s time was outside the A qualification mark but with Kenya allowed one entry with a B standard, she will get her chance to impress.
“We will include her in the team so that she can get a bit of exposure and experience by competing on the world’s biggest stage.”
Marathoners have also been summoned to Nyayo stadium as they will be part of the team that will be presented to President Mwai Kibaki.
The training camp for the Berlin championships will start on July 26 at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani with the team departing for the German capital on August 10.