Athletics Athletics

AK invite Farah to run XC Nationals


MO-FARAHNAIROBI, Kenya, February 11- Athletics Kenya (AK) has extended invitation to British double Olympics and world champion, Mo Farah, for Saturday’s IAAF Permit/KCB National Cross Country Championships.

Speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, AK deputy president, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Jack Tuwei, also confirmed 12 foreign athletes from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda and Bahrain had confirmed entry at the event Kenya will use to select her team for the March 15 Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala.

“We have talked to them but they have not confirmed yet whether they will come or not. Mo Farah will run the London Marathon in April and this would be a good preparation for him to do practise here,” Tuwei said of inviting the British track star who is training in Iten alongside his team mates at the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy.

“Apart from the championship, we have the IAAF organised Permit Meeting and so far we have four countries that have confirmed with two from Ethiopia, two from Eritrea, four from Uganda and four from Bahrain.

“We are still expecting one or two to come and run the Permit meet and the start list will be ready by tomorrow (Wednesday),” the deputy president in charge of logistics at the federation added.

Whether Farah, who was among the elite athletes who launched the 2014 London Marathon elite field in Iten a fortnight ago, will bring the ‘Mo-bot’ phenomenon live to Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens on Saturday or not, the annual showdown has attracted star distance runners.

Two-time New York Marathon champion, Geoffrey Mutai, the fastest male runner over a marathon course with 2:03:02 (Boston 2011), who will face Farah on April 13 in London will represent his Kenya Police team.

World Cross champion, Emily Chebet, 2011 World Cross junior gold medallist, Geoffrey Kipsang, World championships bronze winner, Mercy Cherono and 2012 Boston champion, Sharon Cherop are among a galaxy of star names also expected to feature.

“All the arrangements are now ready for the hosting of the national championships. We have been preparing for this since we started our series from November 2 last year to January 4 this year.

“We gave our affiliates and institutions who selected their teams and all have returned their entries. The venue is ready and has been marked,” Tuwei added.

He was speaking during the presentation of $139,211.14 (Sh12m) in sponsorship from Kenya Commercial Bank towards the domestic six-meet series that is now concluded and Saturday’s Permit meet.

“Part of this money has been used to cater for all invited foreign athletes, their fare, accommodation and local running as well as providing the prize money on offer,” Tuwei explained.