By JONATHAN KOMEN
All is set for the World Athletics Championships’ national trials at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday next week.
The one-day event, which will bring together a mix of new talents and elites, will be used to pick the team to the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships that runs in Moscow, Russia, from August 10-18.
Yesterday, Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo said the first two athletes to cross the line will earn automatic slots to national team.
“We will use our traditional criteria of a 1-2 finish to pick automatic places in team as long as they have met the qualifying times and the third slot will be decided by a panel of selectors,” Okeyo said.
He said those who have not qualified will be accepted in men’s 200m and 400m races to allow them try and push for qualifying standards.
“We are appealing to athletes to turn up for the trials and bring their passports. We will begin with the training and logistics,” he added.
AK released names of 132 men and 60 women athletes who have attained the qualifying mark, having already named the marathon team of 10 athletes.
Men’s line-up are Bernard Kipyego, Bernard Koech, Michael Kipyego, Nicholas Kipkemboi and Peter Some on reserve.
World champion Edna Kiplagat leads women charges that has 2012 Dubai marathon winner Lucy Kabuu, Margaret Akai, Eunice Chepkirui and late entrant Agnes Jeruto Barsosio.
Okeyo ruled out doubts on newcomers’ marathon squad, which saw world’s best marathoners miss out, saying marathon is different from big city races that have pacesetters.
“We have confidence in them. Even a sub 2:10 men’s athlete can win the world championship. The women’s marathon race will kick off the Moscow championships and
IAAF rule allows six entries and five to start, which has the defending champion among them.
The Safaricom-sponsored trials, which will start at 12pm with men’s 10,000m and javelin, will see AK introduce entertainment sessions before events to conform to IAAF format.
Gospel artist Emmy Kosgei and musician Jaguar will entertain the gathering before the kids athletics at 10.am. The showpiece will end at 2.30pm.
Apart from the 192 athletes (132 men and 60 women), world championships qualifications are still open up to Monday when AK will unveil the start list.
“We want to be fair to all athletes. Only Julius Yego (pictured) of javelin has the Standard ‘A’ mark. All defending champions and Diamond League winners have a wild card but it’s within the discretion of the federation to enter if they feel the athlete is fit for competition,” said Okeyo.
He said world 800m record holder David Rudisha is slowly recovering and should he recover well before world championships, he will be in the team.
“We hope he will be well to join the team. He is the defending and will have a wild card. His doctors have sent us the scanned X-ray and our doctors here said he would be well,” he said.
Defending champions’ wild card tickets will complicate matters for budding athletes, especially in men’s 3,000m steeplechase where Ezekiel Kemboi and Diamond League winner Paul Kipsiele Koech have performed well in the season.