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Mission Berlin: Wanjiru leads team

By | May 1st 2009 | 2 min read

By Mutwiri Mutuota

Olympic and London champion, Samuel Wanjiru will lead the national squad to Berlin while world marathon champion Luke Kibet was named as a reserve in the national squad.

At the same time, two-time gold medallist and reigning women’s titleholder, Catherine Ndereba, is in line to gun for an unprecedented third crown after she was included in the women’s team.

With over 90 marathoners running the A qualification standards (2:18:00 men, 2:43:00 women) for Berlin in the past year, Athletics Kenya (AK) had probably the largest pool to select a team of ten and an equal number of reserves.

At the end of selection, the hottest marathoner on the planet, Olympic and London champion, Samuel Wanjiru’s name popped out of the hat first in the men’s team.

Rotterdam Marathon champion, Duncan Kibet (31) and the runner whom he shares the national record of 2:04:27, James Kwambai also made the squad.

Kibet and Kwambai recorded the third fastest marathon time ever on April 5.

Daniel Rono, second finisher at Boston and Emmanuel Mutai who placed fourth at London complete the men’s line-up.

It is the second successive time for Kibet, who won the men’s title in Osaka in 2:15:59 to be included in Kenya’s reserve list for a major event.

"We did not name Kibet in the team since he needs treatment before his form can be gauged," AK chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat who announced the team yesterday disclosed.

Kibet did not finish at last year’s Beijing Olympics after stepping in at the last minute to replace injured Robert ‘Mwafrika’ Cheruiyot who was also included in the extras list. Olympics fifth finisher, Martin Lel, Abel Kirui and David Kipkorir are the other reserves.

Lel, the three-time London champion and Cheruiyot who holds four Boston titles failed to defend their titles.

Lel pulled out hours before the start at London due to a troublesome hip while Cheruiyot pulled out mid race in Boston complaining of back injury.

Turin Marathon champion, Agnes Kiprop, was the big surprise inclusion in the women’s team.

Kiprop ran the Turin course record with a time of 2:26:22 on April 19.

Hellen Kiprop, the only Kenyan female marathoner in the world top-20 for the year with a 2:25:35 effort recorded while finishing third at the Dubai Marathon and former steeplechaser Irene Lemika, were other unheralded selections.

Experienced hands in the team were handed to Olympic silver medallist, Catherine Ndereba and Boston champion, Salina Kosgei who finished tenth in Beijing.

Beijing fifth finisher, Martha Komu, who dropped out of London was the huge exclusion from the team but was named as a reserve.

Other extras include Rispa Kimaiyo, Lydia Cheromei, veteran Edith Masai and Irene Mogaka.

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