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Olympic countdown: 47 Kenyan athletes have met qualification standards, 95 days to world show

ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | April 20th 2021
Machakos Club's Gladys Mumbe leading in 4*400m mixed relay race during AK first relay series at Nyayo National stadium on Saturday, Jan 9, 2020. [Jonah nyango, Standard]

Olympics trials moved to mid June

Individual athletes will be invited for the national event, if suspension of sporting activities will not have been lifted.

With 94 days to the Tokyo Olympic Games, and with sporting events still suspended, the country is determined to name the final team two weeks earlier than scheduled dates.

Team Kenya’s General Manager to the global show, Barnaba Korir, has expressed optimism that the country will hold its Olympic national trials mid-June. The event had initially been set for June 26 and 27.

Korir said plans for the national trials were in top gear before the suspension of sporting activities, in a bid to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

“According to my understanding, AK is working on a plan to bring it (national trials) back to mid June so that there is enough time to select the team and accredit athletes ahead of the Olympic Games,” the team Kenya manager said.

He said 47 athletes have already met the Olympic qualification standards and are ready for the national trials.

According to Korir, individual athletes who have met the Olympic qualifications will be invited for the national event.

“The only thing remaining is to stage national trials which will eventually result in selection of the team to Tokyo,” the AK Nairobi branch chairman said.

“AK is trying to ensure that even if the ban on sporting activities would not have been lifted by then, they will invite athletes who have qualified and those who have met Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) conditions (for the trials).”

The International Olympic Committee had set June 29 as the deadline for the registration of athletes to the global show, a move that may have informed the decision to conduct the national trials earlier than initially scheduled.

Korir said the federation had planned to have the World Relay championships trials, but it couldn’t be done due to the restrictions.

The event was to be used to pick a team to the World Relays show set for May 1-2 in Selesia, Poland

In a press release, AK regretted the postponement of the event, but apologised for the inconvenience, asking athletes to continue training individually.

“Fortunately, we have had a chance to do the trails within existing bubble camps for the World Relays Championships in Poland next month,” Korir said.

“The world relays show will then be the platform for athletes to seek qualifications for the Olympic Games,” he added.

“We thank the Ministry of Sports for fully supporting the preparations. The athletes know that the government is behind them and they will be going to Tokyo without any frustrations,” he added.

He expressed optimism that Team Kenya will post improved results compared with previous Games.

“We expect Kenyans to rally around the national teams. The athletes are the reason we do our best so that we can bring pride to our country,” Team Kenya executive officer Wangui Kibe said.

Kibe said they are working on accreditation of athletes before the end of June as well as local and international training exposures.

“We have a strict programme from Japan. We must make sure athletes are free from Covid-19, and to do this, we want to put them in pre-departure camps to keep everybody safe.”

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