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7 defending champs earn direct London ticket

World men’s 800m record-holder David Rudisha eyes title defence when the Rio Olympic Games track and field programme gets underway on Friday.

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 20 –Javelin star Julius Yego leads seven defending champions, who have earned direct qualification for August IAAF World Championships ahead of the Kenya National Trials scheduled for June 23-24 at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Others in the list are world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha (800m), Ezekiel Kemboi (3,000m men steeplechase), Nicholas Bett (400m hurdles), Asbel Kiprop (1,500m), Hyvin Kiyeng (3,000m women steeplechase) and Vivian Cheruiyot (10,000m).

The seven will gain automatic entry after their victorious triumph in Beijing in the 2015 edition where Kenya made history by topping the world for the first time ever with 16 medals (7 Gold, 6 Silver, 3 Bronze).

This means that Kenya has the leeway of fielding at least four athletes in the seven disciplines that have the defending champions.

Athletics Kenya has invited up to 247 athletes for the two day trials that will see Team Kenya’s top crop of athletes selected.

Also expected to get the nod from International Association of Athletics Federations​ are the 2016 Diamond League series winners. This includes Conseslus Kipruto in the 3000m steeplechase and Ferguson Rotich in the 800m.

Race walk champion

Six-time African race walk champion Grace Wanjiru leads compatriots Samuel Gathimba and Simon Wachira as those who have also secured​ qualification berths.

Susan Kamau, the AK CEO reiterated that all those who secure tickets to the World Championship must still abide by the set anti-doping guidelines.

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“It is important to note that even as the athletes are selected after the trials then they must also adhere to the strict IAAF and World Anti-Doping Agency demands in order to be eligible to compete in the World Championships,” she explained.

Kenyan athletes must undergo three out of competition doping tests while a further two tests will be done during the competition. Also, seminars on anti-doping will still be carried out by AK in the build up to the competition proper.

Meanwhile the AK technical wing will make a decision this week on the contentious issue of those athletes who wish to take part in both the 5000m and 10000m.

Jackson Tuwei, the AK president earlier last week said that consultations will be made as some athletes have already attained the qualification mark in both events.


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