Athletics Athletics

AK bows to pressure, adds sprinters

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Mark MuttaiNAIROBI, Kenya, April 29 – Athletics Kenya (AK) has bowed to pressure and included sprint teams for the inaugural IAAF World Relays Championships set for May 24 and 25 in Bahamas.

London Olympics semi finalist, Anthony Chemut and leading female metric miler, Hellen Obiri, who won the third medal at last year’s Worlds in Moscow, have also been handed wildcards after being sidelined following Saturday’s Bahamas Trials in Nairobi.

AK boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, named Stanley Kieti, Said Ruto, Stephen Baraza, Boniface Khagai and Walter Moenga in the men 4X200m squad whilst also announcing they would email world body IAAF to request the inclusion of the men 4X400m team.

This brings the squad selected so far for Bahamas to 30 after 23 were named after the Trials on Saturday.

In his address to the press, Kiplagat said the changes were made after going through IAAF rules where they established there were no entry standards in the 4X200m event with the 4X400m nearing the required mark for inclusion.

“We decided to give the sprinters a happy moment since they were really affected when we did not select them, we have therefore decided to take the 4x200m men only to show we appreciate and need them.

“We did not enter the women team because we are too far below in the standings so lets take the men first and see how they will perform and that why we have mixed the team with 100m and 200m athletes,” Kiplagat declared.

At the same time the federation has appealed to IAAF to consider the 4x400m men who missed the qualifying mark by 1.26 seconds after recording 3:05.36 during the Trials.

“We did not meet the qualifying standards for the 4x400m relays however, according to the information, we have found out only 19 teams that have qualified and the rule states that there must be 24 teams and the IAAF says to fill that gap they will consider the teams who are so close to the qualifying mark but subject to the request to those countries to be considered for the position.

“We therefore sent an email to IAAF to consider of men’s team and we hope to receive the results by today (Tuesday),” he explained.

Commonwealth 400m champion, Mark Mutai, who among the short-distance athletes dismayed for the initial Bahamas snub welcomed the turnaround.

“I’m very happy to hear AK have finally considered the 4x200m team, it was very sad for the sprinters to be left out for the world championship since this is where they can build their careers.

“I hope they will consider us too the 4x400m team since we usually run good time outside the country. Competing against best athletes in the world will encourage us reach the world qualifying standards and it will enable us prepare effectively for international events like Commonwealth Games,” the athlete who anchored the 4X400m team to glory during the 2010 African Championships told Capital Sport.

“We are ready to represent the country in Bahamas since we have a strong team that only missed the qualifying mark by an inch,” he added.

During the 2010 continental showpiece Mutai, led Boniface Mucheru, Solomon Bwoga and Alex Sampao to victory in 3:05.36 in the 4X400m during the Trials.

UPDATED BAHAMAS SQUAD

Men
4x200m: Stanley Kieti, Said Ruto, Stephen Baraza, Boniface Khagai, Walter Moenga.
4x800m: Alfred Kipketer, Job Kinyor, Ferguson Rotich, Sammy Kirongo, Nicholas Kiplagat, Anthony Chemut.
4x1500m: Asbel Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat, Collins Cheboi, Joseph Magut, Hillary Maiyo, Nixon Chepseba.

Women
4x800m: Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei, Sylvia Chesebe, Cherono Koech, Agatha Jeruto, Miriam Chepkemoi.
4x1500m: Mercy Cherono, Irene Jelagat, Anne Karindi, Peris Nenkampi, Sheila Chepng’etich, Faith Kipyegon, Hellen Obiri.

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