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AK sceptical of athletes doubling up in London

AK president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei addresses the press in a past event at their headquarters. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – The Athletics Kenya Technical Committee will make a decision on whether athletes will double or not during the IAAF World Championships in August.

AK chief Jackson Tuwei said most of the concentration on doubling will be on the 10,000m and 5,000m as Kenya seeks to retain its seat on the throne as the world’s best athletics nation having finished top in Beijing, China in 2015.

“Kenya’s stature in middle long distance athletics does not allow for excuses so we want to get it right in London. Our technical team will advice on the best possible approach on this because we have athletes who can double up well and others who cannot.” Tuwei said.

A total of 60 athletes will be selected from a pool of 246 invited for the national trials on the 23rd and 24th of this month with the federation having earlier announced no wild cards will be given and only meriting and on form athletes will be selected.

The team could however benefit with additional numbers in the men’s 800m and 3000m steeplechase when IAAF releases the quota for every country.

All gold medallists from previous world championships are given byes to defend their titles while Diamond Trophy winners in the 2016 Diamond League season are also given straight routes to world championships.

The top three finishers from the national trials will earn automatic slots while in the men 800m, David Rudisha who won gold in Beijing and Ferguson Rotich who lifted the Diamond Trophy last year will have direct tickets from the IAAF.

The same case applies in 3000m steeplechase where Ezekiel Kemboi won in China two years ago while Conseslus Kipruto lifted the Diamond Trophy last year.

Kenya will be out to defend its world title from China having won seven gold, six silver and three bronze medals.

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The country is however, squarely in the sporting world’s gaze having promptly entered the less fancied World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) watch list due to multiple doping offenses by the country’s leading lights.

Athletes, as announced by AK a fortnight ago, will have to undergo rigorous doping tests with the country coming increasingly under the spotlight and still under the WDA shortlist.

Athletes will be subjected up to five doping tests before being confirmed for London with three in-competition tests and two out of competition tests.

“ADAK has worked hard but they are yet to get all the athletes. Hopefully by the time we go to London every one of them shall have submitted to the mandatory tests. ADAK has liaised with their contemporaries in other countries including Japan, USA and elsewhere to test Kenyan athletes residing overseas.” Tuwei said.

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