Great action as big shots clash in African games trials

By Dennis Okeyo: Thursday, June 20th 2019 at 00:30 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech celebrates during in the women's 3000 metres steeplechase during the IAAF Diamond League "Memorial Van Damme" athletics meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on August 31, 2018. [AFP]

It’s a tough duel as more than 800 athletes battle in the African Games track and field trials at Kasarani Stadium today.

Athletics Kenya will use the three-day event to pick 65 athletes to the 12th African Games scheduled for Morocco on August 23 to September 3.

But a number of Kenya’s world-beating track stars would miss the Pan Africa Games as IAAF Diamond League meetings will be on in Birmingham (August 18), Paris (August 24) and Zurich (August 29), as well as preparations for IAAF World Athletics Championships, set for Doha, Qatar, on September 28 to October 6.

“We would love our athletes to feature at the African Games. Unfortunately, it coincides with some Diamond League meetings,” said coach Bernard Ouma of Rongai Athletics Club, who guides many top athletes among them world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi, two-time Diamond League Trophy winner Timothy Cheruiyot, former Africa champion Winny Chebet and world under-20 1,500m champion George Manangoi.

Other athletes likely to miss the trials include world under-20 and champion Edward Zakayo and US-based 800m specialists Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni.

Former world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei will stage her comeback from maternity while Moses Mukono returns to action after nursing a career-threatening injury. “I’m glad to be back. I have been away for three years battling an ankle injury. It’s been painful. My shape is picking up well,” said Mukono.

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