Athletics Athletics

Olympics probables to be unveiled Monday


NAIROBI, Kenya, January 12- The Kenyan London Olympics marathon and 10,000m probables will be unveiled on Monday after a meeting of the Athletics Kenya (AK) Technical Committee in Nairobi.

World record holder, Patrick Makau, New York and Boston titleholder, Geoffrey Mutai, London champion and Marathon Majors winner, Emmanuel Mutai, Chicago crown holder, Moses Mosop as well as world champion, Abel Kirui are some of the elite runners under consideration in the men’s ultimate distance race.

Wilson Kipsang, the Frankfurt Marathon winner who fell four seconds short of smashing Makau’s 2:03:38 all time best in November is also mooted to be included in a list of ten that will be whittled to the final three that will travel to London in June.

World champion and 2010 New York winner, Edna Kiplagat, London winner, Mary Keitany, Berlin titleholder, Florence Kiplagat, Boston winner, Caroline Kilel and Priscah Jeptoo the silver medallist in South Korea are among those with a shout in the women’s race.

Speaking to Capital Sport on Thursday, AK general secretary, David Okeyo, disclosed the coaching panel had already drafted a list that will be presented to the technical committee who will make the final decision of who will be invited to train for London.

“The final tickets that will be named after our Trials will be given depending on the form, ability and willingness of the probables to compete for the country. Our aim is to win both marathon titles, defend the men’s and get our first women’s in London,” Okeyo stated.

“With the fall marathons such as London, Boston and Amsterdam coming in April and this being Kenya where we are blessed, another athlete may pop out from nowhere and earn consideration so the list will not be final,” he added.

While noting the country had depth of talent in the men’s line-up, he stressed the 1-2-3 finish in Daegu where Kiplagat led Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop to the podium was indication the women’s duck could be broken in London.

“Let us not forget those were not even the quickest we had at the time and they went on to win the marathon World Cup in a historic performance and a repeat is what we are aiming for,” the general secretary explained.

Catherine Ndereba came close to winning the top medal at the Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) Olympics but ended up the bridesmaid on both occasions.

On 10,000m, Okeyo conceded that Kenya, just like other countries was struggling to get runners capable of winning the men’s Olympics title but the nation had competent talent in the corresponding women’s race.

“There are few 10,000m races being organised nowadays and it is a concern that has been brought at the (world body) IAAF level but we have a plan in place to ensure that we bring the men’s title while sustaining the momentum that has seen us win the last two women world titles.”

Daegu campaigners, Peter Kirui, Martin Mathathi and Paul Tanui in addition to Japan based All Africa Games silver winner, Bedan Karoki are among those being considered for a special training camp in the men’s 25-lap race.

World champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2009 winner, Linet Masai, Daegu silver winner Sally Kipyego and Priscah Jepleting who finished fourth in South Korea are strong favourites to get the nod in the women’s event.

Okeyo said emphasis was also being extended to shape short distance runners with a clinic for sprinters and field events in preparation for London 2012 planned for February 2 to 14 where coaches from USA and Jamaica are set to coach the Kenyan hopefuls.

All Africa Games men’s Javelin surprise champion, Julius Yego is training in Switzerland and is set to return to the country in May where AK hope he will have sealed qualification to the Summer Games.

“Overall, our aim is to better our showing in Beijing by retaining the titles we won and adding others in London and the three weeks training camp in Bristol, United Kingdom will help us acclimatise to the conditions we shall be competing under,” Okeyo disclosed.

In China, Kenya’s mid and long distance line-up returned the country’s best ever performance at the Olympics with six gold, four silver and four bronze medals and bettered the showing at the Daegu Worlds with seven gold, five silver and three bronze.

Asbel Kiprop (men 1,500m), Nancy Jebet (women 1,500m) and Brimin Kipruto (men 3,000m steeplechase) are the Olympics champions from Beijing who have a shout of a repeat in London.

Pamela Jelimo, the first women 800m winner has faded out of shape since her barnstorming 2008 while his male equivalent, Wilfred Bungei has since retired. Men’s marathon champion, Samuel Wanjiru, passed on last May.