By Jonathan Komen and Erick Ochieng
Nairobi, Kenya: Olympic 800m Champion David Rudisha and World Indoor winner Pamela Jelimo have been pencilled to launch their track campaign this season on Friday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Barnaba Korir, the Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi branch chairman, confirmed that the two will lead a galaxy of elite stars at the final leg of the National Bank Athletics Kenya weekend meeting.
The two-day meet was moved to Nairobi from Chepkoilel track in Eldoret, which is in poor state following heavy rains.
“We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to host the contest,” said Korir, whose region held the first leg back in March.
The spectacle sets the stage as the IAAF Diamond League series kicks off in Doha on May 10. This will be the first stop in the quest for bragging rights by athletes ahead of the lucrative IAAF World Championships, which will be held in Moscow in august.
Korir said athletes will use the meet to assess their fitness ahead of the Diamond League Series.
“We expect a tight competition. Athletes will use the competition to gauge their speed and endurance ahead of the Diamond League. It’s good they will determine their form here,” said Korir.
He said they expected some athletes, who have not competed in the local series to launch their bids. This will include Rudisha, who was to launch season in Mumias last week but pulled out with a cold.
“Am disappointed to miss Mumias AK meet but instead I did a long run of 13km that cleared out the cold that I had,” Rudisha said on his twitter page.
Jelimo has also kept a low profile and will be back to silence his critics, but in the shorter 400m distance. Rudisha is also entered in the 400m distance. Korir asked athletes to take the meet seriously but warned those who skip finals after sailing through qualifying rounds.