NIAROBI, February 22 – Youngster Paul Mutero has been axed from the national cross country team because of being overage.Mutero finished second in the junior 8kilometres race at the national trials last weekend but was later found to have been older than the stipulated 19 years hence his expulsion.
Athletics Kenya (AK) has also indefinitely suspended his coach Francis Kamau and team manager Peter Ndirangu for their role in fielding the athlete.
“We are not going to allow people to manipulate ages in order to win points or get a chance to compete internationally. Paul Mutero is good and if he ran in the seniors, he might even have done better than being made to run as a junior just so that he can get selected to run for Kenya,” said Kiplagat.
Kiplagat added that Central Province had been stripped off points won in the race and gave them a three day ultimatum to return the trophy won on the day.
“If they do not return the trophy at the end of the three days, we will suspend the entire branch to show that we do not condone age cheating at any level,” threatened Kiplagat.
Central could also be headed for further sanctions after reports that they had not held their provincial championships which raised queries on how they had picked the team.
Meanwhile, AK has selected seven athletes to represent the country at the forthcoming World Indoor Championships in Doha.
Commonwealth Games 5,000 metres champion Augustine Choge and Samuel Mutai will compete in 3,000 metres while World 5,000 metres champion Vivian Cheruiyot and silver medallist Sylvia Kibet will line up in the women’s 3,000 metres.
Africa 1500 men champion Haron Keitany and silver medallist Gideon Gathimba will compete in 1500m race.
United States based Boaz Lalang will also compete in 800 metres in the championships but his expenses including transport and accommodation will be catered for by his manager, “His manager has offered to pay for him so decide dto include him,” said Kiplagat.
The AK supremo added that they had selected the team based on merit, “Our selection was based purely on the year rankings and performances of our athletes.”