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Jelimo, Kiplagat in World Indoors squad

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 23- Olympics women 800m champion, Pamela Jelimo, will lead the Kenyan squad for the March 9 to 12 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Jelimo returned back to solid form with a runner-up finish in the closed circuit IAAF Permit Meeting in Lievin, France where she clocked 1:59:10, her first sub 2:00 performance in two and half years, was included in the nine-strong travelling party.

According to Athletics Kenya (AK) the Kenyan squad will depart for Turkey on March 7 and are scheduled to return on March 13 after the event.

“She is ready for the event and she feels it will be a good test for her ahead of her title defence in London. Jelimo is taking her recovery to form step by step and the World Indoors will provide her with the tough competition she needs to get into the right frame for the Olympics,” her management, Golazo Sports said.

Since her barnstorming 2008 season when she strung together 13 unbeaten races including the Beijing Olympics final, the defunct IAAF Golden League jackpot, the African title as well as a new world junior record (1:54.01), Jelimo’s career came of the rails in spectacular fashion.

Her last showing in the Kenyan colours was a DNF recorded at the 2009 IAAF Worlds in Berlin as she struggled to replicate the forceful form that catapulted her to the top of women 800m running.

Commonwealth champion, Boaz Lalang and emerging star Timothy Kitum, the national junior record holder (1:45.96) in the closed circuit will feature in the equivalent men’s event.

Worlds outdoors silver medallist and Commonwealth titleholder, Silas Kiplagat is undoubtedly the headline act in the men’s line-up as he seeks a first Kenyan indoor metric mile gold in Turkey.

In form World Junior titleholder, Caleb Ndiku, was overlooked by selectors in favour of Bethwell Birgen who has impressed in his 3:34.65 performance in Karlsruhe, Germany on February 12 as Kiplagat’s team mate in the men 1,500m race.

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Armed Forces runner, Hellen Obiri, who made her Team Kenya debut at the Daegu Worlds where she sailed to the final, will be the sole runner in the women’s metric mile race in Turkey.

Obiri has underlined her indoors credentials with two victories (over 3000m) at the Birmingham (8:35.35, PB) and Glasgow (8:42.59) and a second finish in her speciality (4:06.25) in Karlsruhe.

Twice Worlds 5,000m silver winner, Sylvia Kibet, will plough the lone Kenyan furrow in the women’s 3,000m in Turkey with the 2006 Commonwealth champion, Augustine Choge and the African 5,000m titleholder, Edwin Soi, featuring in the men’s corresponding race.

Barnabas Korir, who is Golazo Sports representative in Kenya as well as the AK chairman, Nairobi Branch, will be the team’s team manager.

“This year the selected team is regarded as the strongest team ever selected following the IAAF ranking,” a statement from the federation said.

Olympics 800m men’s titleholder, Wilfred Bungei, who has since retired from active running remains the only Kenyan to be decorated with the World Indoors top medal after his victorious run at the 2006 edition in Moscow.

In the last edition held in Doha, Qatar 2010, Kenya was placed position 16 overall with two silver medals courtesy of Boaz Lalang – 800m and Vivian Cheruiyot, 3000m and two bronze medals through Haron Keitany, 1500m and Sammy Alex Mutahi, 3000m.

Triple world champion, Cheruiyot opted out of consideration for Istanbul as she prepares for an Olympics gold assault in London.

Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF

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SQUAD (Indoor season’s bests listed alongside)

800m Women
1. Pamela Jelimo – 1:59.10

800m Men
1. Boaz Kiplagat Lalang – 1:45.75
2. Timothy Kitum – 1:45.96

1500m Women
1. Hellen Onsando Obiri – 4:06.25

1500m Men
1. Silas Kiplagat – 3:35.26
2. Bethwel Birgen – 3:34.65

3000m Women
1. Sylvia Jebiwot Kibet – 8:43.54

3000m Men
1. Augustine Kiprono Choge – 7:29.94
2. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi – 7:29.94

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Team Manager
1. Barnaba Korir – Chairman, AK Nairobi Branch

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