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Kenya to enter 40 athletes in London Games

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By Chris Musumba

Kenya plans to enter about 40 athletes in track and field at the London Olympics Games, which starts on July 26.

Athletics team manager for the Kenya team at the Olympics Joseph Kinyua said merit, consistence and dedication to national duty will be the yardsticks for selection.

This comes just a week before the 15-member Kenya 10,000m probable jet out to Eugene, Oregon in the USA for the trials, where the top three will clinch the ticket to London.

“Everyone is now focussed on the trip to Eugene. We have about 13 people in camp and I believe we have done what is required to see that this team wins,” said Kinyua.

The country has not won the 10,000m title in 44 years, since Naphtali Temu became Kenya’s first ever Olympic gold medallist when he won the 25-lap event at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.

“Both Athletics Kenya and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) have put in enormous efforts to see we turn around the preparations and attitude towards the event at the Olympics.

“Kipchoge Keino has been of help and we have done our part. Now it is up to the athletes to do us proud. We have also separated these trials from the national championships to help benefit those athletes eyeing to double in the Olympics,” said Kinyua.

“The team leaves in a week’s time and will have two days to acclimatise in Eugene before the race on June 1. Then they will have the chance to watch the Diamond League meeting at the same venue on June 2.

Making the team are Moses Masai, Eliud Kipchoge, Lucas Rotich, Mark Kiptoo, Josphat Bett, Paul Tanui, Emmanuel Bett, Geoffrey Kirui, Titus Mbishae, Bedan Karoki, Dennis Masai, Wilson Kiprop and Mike Kipruto Kigen.

Kinyua said Kenya intends to enter over 40 track and field athletes in London games and another 50 at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Porto Nova, Benin in July.

“I hope the team to London will be able to improve on the 16 medals haul — six gold, four silver and four bronze — the country won in Beijing four years ago,” said Kinyua.

One of the top athletes Kenya expect to wrestle the gold medal from the grip of Ethiopians will be Moses Masai, the fourth finisher at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Masai said a career threatening hip injury was to blame for his on and off appearances in the last two years.

“I have had to go through rehabilitation and wasted about two years. I have been in and out of hospitals in England, Ireland and Germany but now that is done,” said Masai.

Throw in 2003 World 5,000m champion Eliud Kipchoge, World cross country silver medallist Paul Tanui, Japan based Bedan Karoki and a battery of other upcoming runners and the trials in Eugene will be catastrophic for the faint at heart.


 

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