Athletics agency tells runners to make a written commitment of featuring in Commonwealth Games, World Athletics Championship
Invited athletes for the joint trials for the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games will have to make a written commitment to feature in the two major events.
Two weeks to the start of the World Athletics Championships to run from July 15 to 24 in Oregon, United States and the Commonwealth Games starting four days later on July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, UK, Athletics Kenya (AK) boss Jack Tuwei said it is prudent to have a strong team for both events. The trials will be held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Friday and Saturday.
“All athletes will be required to commit to feature in both events before the trials apart from marathoners,” said Tuwei during a pre-trials press conference at Riadha House yesterday.
“Of course, where there is a clear reason given by athletes, we shall exempt such cases and look for replacements,” he noted.
Tuwei clarified that the invite-only two-day event that has 175 athletes was based on several factors including the fulfilment of World Athletics anti-doping requirements and competition qualifying standards.
“This is not a new thing, it was done for the Rio Olympics, London 2017 and Doha 2019 World Championships as well as Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Athletes know that to compete for Kenya at the world event you must have undergone three out-of-competition tests 10 months to the event, One of the three tests must be for the blood. So, there are no bending rules,” Tuwei stated.
Panel of selectors
Tuwei also said that the first two athletes to cross the finish line will make it to the team. Athletes who will come in the third position will be picked through a panel of selectors led by head coach Julius Kirwa and will qualify for Oregon only.
“The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) has given AK 45 slots for the Commonwealth Games that have an open qualification, so we will take fewer athletes to Birmingham than Oregon where we have not been given specific figures,” he added.
The AK boss said World Athletics has always given continental champions wildcards to walkers Samuel Gathimba, and Samuel Ngii and the 2015 world javelin champion Julius Yego.
“So, besides Yego, there will be no field events representatives in Oregon and Birmingham because our athletes have not met qualification standards, so there is no need to invite them to the trials,” he added. The event will see straight finals with the competition programme starting on Friday at 1.10pm with the men’s 5,000m final.
The women’s and men’s 100m finals will be the showstopper on Saturday at 2.30pm and 2.40pm respectively.
Meanwhile, Absa Bank has announced Sh12 million sponsorship for the two-day event.
The bank’s Marketing and Corporate Relations Director Mr. Moses Muthui said full support during the selection process for Team Kenya is critical for smooth preparations.
“Team Kenya is expected to perform even better during the upcoming championships given our strong showing in the recent Continental Tour and the All-Africa Games. These top-level events provide us with an opportunity to set a foothold as a major sporting nation and extend our excellent record abroad. We shall continue to support Team Kenya as they embark on preparations for these events and compete against the best athletes from other countries,” Muthui said.