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AK backtracks on Makau Olympics pledge

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 1- Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat stated on Tuesday that no athlete is guaranteed automatic entry to the Kenyan London 2012 Olympics men’s marathon team.

This latest position contradicts an earlier declaration from the federation chair that world record holder, Patrick Makau Musyoki, who ran 2:03:38 to set the all time best at the Berlin Marathon in September, had secured his place in the Olympics squad.

“I don’t think we announced a wildcard that is a misrepresentation. We will announce them along with others because it depends entirely how a person behaves, if the body behaves next year.

“He may be good now but next year, he could be something else. There was no wildcard for anybody, we did not say that,” Kiplagat asserted.

The chair had stated on September 29, “He (Makau) has indicated he wants to participate in London Olympics depending on how his body will respond during the season and that issue is finished. Yes, he is on the list.”

Kiplagat who was fielding questions on the difficulty of selecting the London 2012 Olympics marathon team reiterated the federation’s position that they would reveal the provisional team in January next year.

“I want to assure you that as soon as we finish the New York which is this weekend, in January, we will announce the team. Reason for that is we don’t want them to sign up for Berlin, Chicago and so on.

“If someone runs in Boston or London (run in April), then it is okay for Olympics but it takes time for the body to recover.”

AK plans to have the probables in the men Olympics team to be put in camp to prepare to defend the title won by the late Samuel Wanjiru in Beijing in event record time of 2:06:32, Kenya’s first triumph in the ultimate men’s race at the quadrennial showpiece.

Following Makau’s world record run, Moses Mosop, the runner-up at Boston Marathon with 2:03:04 won the Chicago event in course record time of 2:05:38 and just last weekend, Wilson Kipsang blasted to the second quickest official time of 2:03:42 in Frankfurt that was only four seconds shy of toppling the world record holder’s five-week all time best.

Mosop and Kipsang as well as London winner and course record holder, Emmanuel Mutai (2:04:40) and Boston champion, Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02) who will duel in New York on Sunday, have staked a huge claim for inclusion in the team.

That’s beside double world champion, Abel Kirui who became the first Kenyan to hold on to that title at the Daegu Worlds in August among other high profile marathon winners from a country that has produced male victor’s in the 2011 season.

In the aftermath of his victory, Kirui was assured by federation’s mandarins he had also done enough to seal his place in the Olympics

On Monday, AK general secretary, David Okeyo, stated that the federations’ panel of coaches would be solely tasked with selecting the London 2012 men marathon team.

Their task is not enviable considering they have to choose only three runners to feature in the Olympics.

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