Athletics Athletics

No wildcards for London Olympics

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9- Athletics Kenya (AK) has declared that there will be no wildcard selection for the national team for London Olympics.

At the same time, the federation announced that the Trials for the women 10000m squad for London will be conducted during the National Championships that run from June 14 to 16 in Nairobi.

“Many people have been saying that we will give wildcards for London and this is not true, even in the marathon team that we have already selected. I want to state here today that there will be no wildcard entry for the London Olympics,” AK boss, Isaiah Kiplagat charged on Wednesday.

On the selection criteria for the women 10000m squad, the chair declared; “The women Trials will take place during the National Championships, one week to the National Trials.

“The reason is to allow those women who would like to double in the 5000m and 10000m to participate in the Trials for 5000m. This will give them one week to rest, if you win; you have the chance to run the double at the Olympics.”

Kiplagat explained those who fail to bag tickets in the men 10000m Olympics Trial in Eugene, Oregon on June 2 will also be allowed to compete at the July 23 Kenyan Trials in the shorter race.

“However, they have to go through the 5000m at the National Championships as a qualifying round for us to pick the 12 as required by the IAAF since unlike women, we have a huge number of those who have qualifying time in that event,” he stressed.

The chair also announced that the federation had circulated the entry standards for the National Trials and only those who meet them will be allowed to vie for London tickets.

He disputed the assertion the federation was forced by criticism to back down from the initial plan to stage both the men and women 10000m Trials at the Diamond League Pre Fontaine Classic meet.

“We saw no need to send our women there because they are not many who have qualifying times in the 10000m and we agreed with our sponsors we will only have the men going to Eugene.

“Those who are saying we were forced to back down are not telling the truth and none of them came to ask us to explain,” Kiplagat stormed.

The announcement in January of the Oregon Trial plan was vehemently opposed in some quarters with former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat and twice Boston champion, Moses Tanui leading the protests before the federation reviewed its decision.

AK held the men 10000m pre-trial on April 17 where 13 were selected to compete for three tickets for London with podium finishers in Eugene assured of Olympics slots.

Meanwhile, the federation has hailed the announcement made by National Olympics Committee- Kenya on Tuesday that Javelin thrower and All Africa Games champion; Julius Yego had been entered in the London Olympics despite qualifying with a B-Standard.

“This is the first time we are taking a Javelin thrower to the Olympics and even if he finishes in position 30, it means that the next time, we will have more qualifying and it a boost for our field athletes,” Kiplagat noted.

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