By Mutwiri Mutuota
It was a selection process that was expected to be explosive but in the end, Athletics Kenya (AK) named a team of 53 athletes the officials believe would deliver during October’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
On Friday, Commonwealth Trials lacked the punch normally associated with Kenya’s selection events for a major event with most of the star names included in the squad not in the country and for those who are, watching the proceedings from the stands. Perhaps the announcement made last Tuesday that top runners would receive a bye for the October 3 and 14 made Saturday’s Trials at Nyayo National Stadium resemble a training session.
In fact, AK top brass had thought of cancelling the event altogether in the morning, but when delayed action got underway at noon, only Julius Yego, the African men Javelin bronze winner, posted a performance of note when he threw 75.44m career best.
The men 10,000m race was keenly competed with three Delhi tickets up for grabs and former 2008 World Junior silver winner, Titus Mbishei romped home ahead of all challengers in a brisk 27:57.31 ahead of Japan based Joseph Kiptoo (27:58.65) and the brilliantly monickered 2007 World Youth gold medallist, Daniel Lemashon Salel (27:58.65).
In the 5,000m decider, Vincent Yator, the African silver winner, booked space on the India bound flight when he finished off the field in 13:24.19. Nairobi 2010 bronze medallist, the evergreen Mark Kiptoo (13:25.27) edged out Olympic silver winner and 2003 World champion, Eliud Kipchoge (13:25.27) from the Commonwealth bound team when he dipped for the second automatic place. Selectors awarded African champion, Edwin Soi, the third berth in the hope of a repeat of the 1-2-3 witnessed at last month’s African Championships in Delhi.
Irene Jelagat (4:10.34) led returning Viola Kibiwott (4:13.96) across the line in the women’s 1500m to clinch their places with selectors adding Olympics champion and Diamond League winner, Nancy Jebet Lagat who sat out.