SECTIONS

Athletes prepare for one-day event at the Nyayo Stadium in Moscow

Edwin Soi wins the 5,000m at the Prefontaine Classic Meeting in Oregon, USA, last year. Behind him is Britain’s Mo Farah. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

BY JONATHAN SOI

The ticket to World Championships stands out as every athletes dream to put on the national colours.

The first two athletes to cross the line will pick automatic tickets to the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships that runs in Moscow, Russia from August 10-18.

The third spot will be decided by the panel of selectors through a process known as wild card.

Any self-respecting athlete will hate to be picked this way. Previous selections have raised controversy, and Saturday’s event could be no different.

After years of playing the understudy, a legion of young athletes will have graduated and will threaten to seize the moment and pick the prized tickets to Russian capital.

Olympic 5,000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi and Africa 10,000m Betsy Saina will lead the hunt for places in the long distance running at Nyayo National Stadium.

The Kericho-based Soi need to be at his best to prove that his win at the America’s Prefontaine Classic in 13:04.75 world-lead time against double Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain was no fluke.

He ended Farah’s brilliant run outdoors on track since 2011 even as Kenyan-turned America Bernard Lagat wound up fifth.

Others worth looking out for are Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Longosiwa, former world junior champion Isaiah Koech Kiplang’at and Africa bronze medalist Timothy Kiptoo.

But it will be a strong team as the experienced athletes stick their foot in to protect their turf. Longosiwa, who boasts a 12:58.67 personal best in 5,000m, said: “I have prepared well. Let the day come.”

He will duck it out with John Kipkoech (13:01.64), Patrick Mutunga (13:10.40) Lewis Lalang (13:07.13) and world indoor silver medalist Augustine Choge (13:05.31).

Little known Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett (26:51.16) will spearhead AK’s bid to fashion a 10,000m squad that will stop Ethiopian dominance in the race at the worlds. 

He will be up against Vincent Kiprop Chepkok (26:51.68) and Africa 10,000m medalist Kenneth Kipkemoi (26:52.65).

World 10km record holder Leonard Komon (27:01.58), former world half marathon winner Wilson Kiprop (27:0198), world cross-country silver medalist Lucas Rotich (27:09.38) and the 37-year-old but ever-green Mark Kiptoo will spice up the line up.

World’s fastest marathoner Geoffrey Mutai, who missed out a place in the marathon line up, will try his luck in the 10,000m, having won the national championships a fortnight ago.