Rudisha, Kemboi lead the charge

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RUDISHA-FLAGNAIROBI, Kenya, June 7- Olympic champion, David Rudisha and Ezekiel Kemboi will spearhead the Kenyan joined team for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and subsequent Marrakech Africa Athletics Championships following the conclusion of the selection event in Nairobi on Saturday.

World champions, Milcah Chemos and Eunice Sum will join Commonwealth titleholders, Mark Mutai (men 400m) and John Ekiru Kilai (marathon men), in the squad that aiming to beat their Club Games record at the last edition in Delhi where the athletics team won 11 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze to scoop the top honours.

Among other luminaries in the squad include the red hot Moscow medallists, Mercy Cherono, Hellen Obiri and Lydia Chepkirui, former Commonwealth titleholder, Janeth Jepkosgei, two-time World junior champion, Faith Chepn’getich and 2012 World Half gold winner, Florence Kiplagat.

World record holder, Rudisha, Kemboi and Chemos were given wildcard tickets to both events after skipping the three-day meet with world junior record holder, Isaiah Kiplangat Koech and Chepkirui also benefiting from outside selection despite being humbled at the Trials.

Such favour did not fall on 2008 Olympics champion and two-time Worlds winner, Asbel Kiprop after he pulled out of the men 1500m decider at the bell despite being in pole position to challenge to a place, coming 48 hours after he dropped to third in Rome.

“My body was tired and after the bell, I felt a slight strain in my left calf and decided not to risk further damage. I’m disappointed at not getting the chance to run for my country but there are other challenges ahead,” the lanky 24 year-old said.

The distance running powerhouse will also cast her net wider in the field events with Olympics finalist and Worlds fourth placed men Javelin star, Julius Yego and local women Hammer sensation, Linda Oseso, also making the squad.

Athletics Kenya (AK) vice-president in charge of competition, David Okeyo, said the squad was not final with further changes to be made before the team reports for camp.

“We raised the bar in Delhi and we want to defend our position and we had to select the best team. Besides the Trials, our selectors also considered those athletes who were not here and made the decision to have them in the team based on their form,” he added.

The fate of men 1500m Delhi gold medallist and 2011 Worlds silver winner, Silas Kiplagat, hangs in the balance after he was omitted from the squad despite completing an accomplished 3:30.45 victory in Rome on Thursday.

Most of the sprinters who shone in Bahamas including Walter Moenga, Tony Chirchir, Boniface Mucheru and Carvin Nkanata who set a national 2x200m record at the inaugural World Relays were also penned in the squad but the former was granted outside selection.

KEMBOI-LONDON-2Evergreen Race walking national champions, Grace Wanjiru, the Commonwealth bronze winner and David Kimutai, who at 43 is the eldest campaigner in the squad and finished fourth in Delhi also made the grade.

The National Olympics Committee-Kenya and their AK counterparts will discuss on the training programme for the squad before the team reports to camp.

Athletes will be given the choice to run either in Glasgow or Marrakech with the added option of running both as top Kenyan stars target slots in Africa’s team for the IAAF Intercontinental Cup that will run in the same Moroccan city a week after the continental showdown.

PRELIMINARY SQUAD

Men

100m: Walter Moenga, Tony Chirchir, Carl Lewis; 200m: Walter Moenga, Carvin Nkanata, Tony Chirchir, Stephen Barasa; 400m: Mark Mutai, Boniface Mucheru, Solomon Buoga; 800m: David Rudisha, Ferguson Rotich, Evans Kipkorir, Nicholas Kiplagat; 1500m: Ronald Kiplemboi, Elijah Menangoi, James Magut; 5000m: Joseph Kitur, Caleb Mwangangi, Isaiah Kiplagat Koech; 10000m: Josphat Bett, Peter Kirui, Charles Cheruiyot; Marathon: John Ekiru Kelai, Eric Ndiema, Stephen Chemlany; 3000mS: Ezekiel Kemboi, Jairus Birech, Jonathan Ndiku; 400mH: Boniface Mucheru, Nicholas Bett; Javelin: Julius Yego, Alex Kiprotich, Sammy Keskeny; Long jump: Tera Langat, Elijah Kimitei, Kiplangat Ruto; High jump: Matthew Sawe; 20Km Race walking: David Kimutai, Samuel Ireri, Sylvanus Wekesa

Women

100m: Millicent Ndoro, Safina Mukoswa; 200m: Maureen Thomas, Millicent Ndoro; 400m: Maureen Jelagat, Jecinta Shikanda; 800m: Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei, Agatha Jeruto; 1500m: Hellen Obiri, Faith Chepng’etich, Sheila Chepleting; 5000m: Mercy Cherono, Janet Kisa, Margaret Wangari; 10000m: Florence Kiplagat, Joyce Chepkirui, Emily Chebet; Marathon: Phylis Ongori, Philomena Cheyech, Agnes Jeruto Barsosio; Long jump: Gladys Musyoki; Hammer: Linda Oseso, Lucy Omondi; 20Km Race walking: Grace Wanjiru, Emily Ngii, Susan Jepng’etich

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