NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 20 – Of the 10 gold medallist that Team Kenya produced at the last edition of the Commonwealth Games, only Javelin star Julius Yego and Jonathan Muia Ndiku will be defending their titles at the 2018 competition scheduled to be hosted in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4-15.
While a huge chunk of defending champions opted out for either injury or personal reasons, Yego, who had no competition in his category during the Athletics Kenya Track and Field Trials, booked a ticket alongside Alexander Kiprotich and will be looking to better his 83.87m throw recorded in Glasgow four years ago.
A total of 60 Track and Field athletes were selected to represent Kenya at the Gold Coast showpiece and will be tasked to defend the overall Athletics category medal haul that saw the power house nation top the standings with a total of 23 medals (10, gold, 10 silver, 3 bronze).
It is a mixed team comprising of uprising and experience athletes led by world champions Hellen Obiri, Conseslus Kipruto and Elijah Manangoi who will be seeking to add a Commonwealth Games medal to their cabinet.
Among the athletes that will not be defending their titles include; James Magut (1500m men), Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku (5000m men), Eunice Sum (800m women), Faith Kipyegon (1500m women), Mercy Cherono (5000m women), Joyce Chepkirui (10,000m women), Purity Kirui (3000m Steeplechase women), Flomena Cheyech (Marathon women).
-Wild Cards for 20128 Commonwealth Games-
Conseslus Kipruto, an Olympic and world champion in the 3000m steeplechase together with Obiri who rules the world in 5000m were selected despite not participating in the athletics trials held at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani on Saturday.
Kipruto Who withdrew from the trials due to stomach pains will team up with Africa 3000m steeplechase bronze medalist Abraham Kibiwott and World Junior champion Amos Kirui.
World javelin silver medallist Julius “YouTube” Yego will be serious Commonwealth Games title after qualifying for the championships and will be joined by debutant Alexander Kiprotich who finished second during trials with a good 72.59.
The 2014 Beijing World champion Nicholas Bett will be joined by his brother Aaron Koech in the 400m hurdle after 1-2 finish during the trials.
Olympic 400m silver medallist Boniface Mucheru was edged out of the last qualifying spot by the third placed William Mbevi after finishing fourth.
The 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games women’s 20km walk bronze medalist Grace Wanjiru will be taking another stab at the Club games after qualifying for the competition.
Jonathan Muia Ndiku will be heading to Gold Coast not to defend his 3000m steeplechase title but to seek the 10,000m gold after making into the team with a second place finish in 28:46.05 behind World Junior 10,000m champion Rodgers Kwemoi.
Africa 400m hurdles silver medalist Maureen Jelagat is the only runner on her speciality to qualify with national champion Mark Otieno being Kenya’s solo runner in men’s 100m.
World under 18, 1500m silver medallist Edward Zakayo, the 2010 World Junior champion and Nicholas Kipkorir form the men’s 5000m.
World champion Elijah Manangoi, silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot and World under 20 gold medalist Kumari Taki form a strong 1500m team.
World Junior 3000m steeplechase Celliphine Chespol will be representing the country for her first time as a senior and will combine with defending champion Purity Cherotich and Fancy Cherono.
The team will handled by Japheth Kemei as head coach assisted by Julius Kirwa, Joseph Kirwa and William Murgor.
Athletics Kenya (AK) Nyanza North chairman Joseph Ochieng has been appointed as the team manager to be deputies Philip Ngovi.
Former AK women representative Mary Chege is the chaperone.
TEAM KENYA GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES SQUAD
Women 20km walk: Grace Wanjiru, Linda Waweru
Men 20km Walk: Samuel Gathimba
Women 10,000m: Sandrafelis Chebet, Stacy Ndiwa
Women 400m Hurdles: Maureen Jelagat
Men 5000m: Edward Zakayo, Nicholas Kipkorir, David Bett
Women 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo, Eva Cherono
Men 1500m: Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Kumari Taki
Women 1500m: Beatrice Chepkoech, Winny Chebet, Mary Wangari
Men 200m: Peter Mwai, Mike Mokamba
Women 200m: Joan Cherono, Millicent Ndoro
Men 3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Abraham Kibiwott, Amos Kirui
Women 3000m steeplechase: Celliphine Chepteek Chespol, Purity Cherotich, Fancy Cherono
Men 800m: Jonathan Kitilit, Wycliffe Kimanyal, Cornelius Kipkoech
Women 800m: Emily Cherotich, Margaret Nyairera, Eglay Nalianya
Men 100m: Mark Otieno
Women 400m: Boniface Mweresa, Collins Omae, Alexander Sampao
Women 400m: Maxmilla Emali, Veronica Mutua
Men 10,000m: Rodgers Kwemoi, Jonathan Ndiku, Josephat Bett
Men 400m Hurdles: Nicholas Bett, Aaron Koech, Willy Mbevi
Men 110 hurdles: Kiprono Koskei
Men Javelin: Julius Yego, Alexander Kiprotich
Women Long Jump: Priscilla Tambunda
Men Long Jump: Bethwel Langat
Men Triple Jump: Elijah Kiplagat
Decathlon: Gilbert Kibiwott
High Jump: Mathew Sawe
Men marathon: Nicholas Kamakya, Kenneth Mburu, Julius Mungara
Women Marathon: Shelmith Muriuki, Sheila Jetotich, Hellen Nzembi
Joseph Ochieng’ (Team manager)
Philip Ngovi (Assistant Team manager)
Mary Chege (Chaperone)
Japheth Kemei (head coach)
Julius Kirwa, Joseph Kirwa, William Murgor (Assistant coaches)