Kenya set to select athletes for Africa championships

10:16, June 24, 2010      

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A cast of Olympics, world and African championships will congregate in Nairobi to chase 144 places available in Kenya's team for the July 28 to August 1 African Senior Athletics Championships (AAC) that will be hosted by the same nation.

Speaking to local media on Wednesday, Athletics Kenya (AK) general secretary, David Okeyo, disclosed a record 1,010 (570 male and 440 female) runners had been entered for the three-day Kenya National Championships cum Trials for Nairobi 2010 AAC that end on Saturday.

"This is the highest number we have ever registered for this event and we will select athletes in all events including combined events.

"All athletes who will qualify must meet qualifying standards for AAC and we are optimistic after discussing with coaches that we shall field a strong team including field events and sprints," Okeyo told journalists in Nairobi.

Competition for places in any Kenyan athletics team particularly in mid and long distance races has been termed harsher than that of international events themselves and this year's championships are no different.

Africa record holder, David Rudisha, has his hands full in the men's 800m where he faces 2007 World Champion, Alfred Kirwa and 2006 World Junior champion Jackson Kivuva among others while in the women's two-lap race, Olympics gold medallist, Pamela Jelimo and 2007 World Champion, Janeth Jepkosgei are on collision course.

A feisty men 1,500m race is on the cards with Olympics champion, Asbel Kiprop, world leader, Augustine Choge, Africa champion, Haron Keitany and Africa silver winner, Gideon Gathimba in the frame.

Beijing winner, Nancy Jebet Lagat is not expected to face a stern test considering she is unbeaten this season but Kenyan Trials have served stunning upsets in the past.

Without doubt, the cast of Olympics champion, Brimin Kipruto, world titleholder, Ezekiel Kemboi, Olympic bronze winner, Richard Mateelong and speedster, Paul Kipsiele Koech will serve yet another mouth-watering tussle in the men's 3,000m steeplechase.

The women's water and barriers event will feature world leader and unbeaten Milka Chemos, the Berlin World Championships bronze winner, who has hit electrifying form this year against fierce rival Gladys Rotich.

The women's 5,000m will see world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot clash with Berlin silver winner, Sylvia Jebet with World Cross champion, Emily Chebet also in the picture.

World Cross champion, Joseph Ebuya has a tough contest on his hands in the men's race with speed merchant Sammy Kitwara, veteran Mark Kiptoo and Thomas Longosiwa lurking.

World champion, Linet Masai is the runner to beat in women's 10,000m where her brother and World Championships bronze winner, Moses Masai is missing in the men's event line-up.

Subject to meeting Nairobi 2010 AAC entry standards, the first two across the line will earn automatic slots in the Kenyan team with selectors choosing a third.

The chosen squad will commence residential training for the continental event on July 5.



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