NAIROBI, Kenya, July 12- It’s now official. World record holder, David Rudisha, is the only top athlete who has automatic entry for the Moscow World Championships exempted from the killer Kenya Trials set for Saturday in Nairobi.
The Olympics and world titleholder in the men’s 800m who is recovering from injury sustained ahead of the New York Diamond League meeting was scheduled to arrive in the Kenyan capital on Thursday for assessment.
For other active Daegu (2011), London (2012) and Diamond League (2012) winners from the country who are eligible for automatic entry in the August Moscow Worlds, the Athletics Kenya (AK) panel of selectors will determine their fate after the Trials.
During a pre-event media briefing on Thursday, the federation reiterated that the first two across the line will gain automatic entry with the panel deciding which athletes will join them in the final Moscow squad as well as the size of the contingent.
“Let us not commit ourselves; I’m saying a big No! Everybody will come and run, I have made it clear, we are not exempting anybody!” AK deputy-president in charge of administration, David Okeyo stated.
“Rudisha was supposed to have arrived this morning (Thursday) but he is recovering very slowly. If the doctor gives him a clean bill of health, then we shall enter him in the team, he is a special case and I’m not contradicting myself; this is a special case for Rudisha.
“He proved himself this year before he got injured, if he was not injured, he would have run at the Trials,” the administrator added on the country’s marquee athlete who holds the 1:40.91 standard in the men’s 800m and is arguably the most recognised Kenyan runner worldwide whose image is being used to promote the Worlds in Russia.
The assertion means the event billed as a mini-version of the Worlds itself as far as mid and long distances are concerned will be packed with its customary intrigue, drama, fairytale stories and shattered dreams.
Ezekiel Kemboi (men 3000m steeple), Paul Kipsiele Koech (men 3000m steeple) Milcah Chemos (women 3000m steeple), Asbel Kiprop (men 1500m) and Isaiah Kiplangat (men 5000m) are the other active runners who have automatic entries for Moscow but will be compelled to take on the deep fields drawn in their races to punch their tickets.
Okeyo also confirmed no athlete would be allowed to double at the Trials but they could consider on merit those to enter for two events in Moscow provided they have been selected in the team owing to the short programme on the cards.
“After we have done the selection, yes but at the Trials, he or she should go for their speciality. It’s a one day event,” he explained.
AK has invited a total of 144 athletes and four relay teams for the eagerly anticipated Kenyan Trials with the federation also confirming the final marathon squad from the eight who were named in the squad last month, including defending women’s titleholder, Edna Kiplagat.
The women’s 10,000m Trial will kick off the order of events at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium at 9:00pm local time (+3GMT).