Kimeli secures ticket to Budapest after beating strong field at Nyayo

Nicholas Kimeli wins the 10000M Men final race ahead of Kibiwott Kandie during the Trials for World Athletics Championship held at Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi on July 07, 2023.[Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Nicholas Kimeli secured his ticket to the World Championship yesterday after beating a star-studded field in 10,000m as the the two-day trials starts Nyayo Stadium.

The last lap brought the sizable crowd at Stadium to its feet as Kimeli won the race in 27:29.8 ahead of Commonwealth Games silver medalist Daniel Ebenyo (27:30.5) to secure his spot in the team to the Budapest World Championships set for August 19-27.

Bernard Kibet who finished third has attained the qualification standards of 27:10:00. Pre-race favourite Kibiwott Kandie finished fourth in 27:47.3.

Ebenyo and Kimeli, dictated the pace for most of the race until the last two laps when Kimeli took over the lead to win the race.

Kimeli, the 2022 Diamond League winner in the 5000m says he is yet to decide if he will do both events in Budapest.

"Our target is to work as team, we controlled the race so well and we hope do the same in Budapest next month,” said Kimeli.

Ebenyo fresh from triumphing at the the national championships a fortnight ago said he is eyeing a podium finish in Budapest.

"We know the challenge that awaits us and we are going to work hard in training to ensure we bring glory to the country," Ebenyo said.

With men’s 10,000m squad now known, it remains to be seen if the team will gain ground in an event Kenya last won gold medal in 2001 when Charles Kimathi defeated Ethiopian Assefa Mezgebu and Haile Gebrselassie in Edmonton.

“We urge Kenyans not to lose hope in us because something good will come home from Budapest . They should keep us in their prayers. We are okay in endurance and we have to improve on our speed,” said Kimeli.

According to the Athletics Kenya's race selection criteria the first two athletes to cross the finish line will automatically be selected provided they have qualified as per the World athletics entry standards.

The athletes who wish to double will be allowed to do so, however, the decision to double at the World Championships will be a preserve of the selection panel.

The selection of the third athlete where necessary is subject to the decision of the selection panel.

The wild card athletes must run at the trials and if there are two wild cards, the fastest will be picked amongst.

The athletes qualifying after the trials and before the window closes will be considered if the discipline quota is not filled provided, they have met all the requirements and criteria.

Meanwhile Thomas Capdevielle, the Head of Testing and Compliance at the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has said that more testing and intelligence will lead to more drug cheats being netted.

“What we anticipate is that things will get worse, but eventually things will be better because of higher levels of testing which means we will catch more drug cheats. We want to go beyond athletes and also try to unearth the networks behind them; the pharmacists, managers ,” said Capdevielle.

The AIU official is in the country as AIU steps up testing of athletes and for the first time ever, all athletes competing at the national trials to select the team for next month’s World Athletics Championships have to undergo testing before and after the race.

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