ELDORET, Kenya Apr 28- Athletics Kenya officials have named Eldoret as the new host venue of the Kenyan track and field trials for August’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
It will be the first time that team selections have been held outside the capital city of Nairobi, which have been the site of the past Olympic and world championships trials.
“We have decided to move the championships from Nairobi to Eldoret, since most of the Olympic probables train and reside with this region,” Athletics Kenya (AK) senior vice-president in charge of competitions, Paul Mutwii told AFP.
The trials will be held between June 14 to 16.
Mutwii said the selected athletes will also hold their residential training camp in the region before heading to Brazil.
Eldoret, situated at 7,000 feet above sea level, and about 315 kilometres (200 miles) north-west of Nairobi, is home to most of the top Kenyan athletes including two-time London marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge and three-time world and Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.
The athletes have welcomed the move to switch the trials venue with former world 5,000m champion, Benjamin Limo hailing the decision as “commendable”.
“It is a privilege for Eldoret that styles itself as the “Capital of Champions” to host the event.
“It will be an opportunity for the people from with the Eldoret region to come and witness the mini-Olympics,” said Limo, winner of the 5,000m gold medal at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki, Finland.
“It is a commendable move by the AK and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to bring these games outside of Nairobi, since this is the area where about 90 per cent of the past and current Kenyan Olympic and world champions are based.”