By Chris Musumba
Kenya has made changes in its women 800m Olympic team axing Winnie Chebet and bringing in 2010 World Junior silver medallist Cherono Koech.
Koech, who was fifth during the Kenya trials for the Olympic games, had returned to her base in Kericho for training in preparation for the Diamond League meetings, but will now have to change her course and navigate towards London for the Olympics, which starts on July 27.
Stephen Soi, the Team Kenya CEO and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) official said Chebet, who was second in the trials, was dropped because she did not have the ‘A’ qualifying standard for the Olympics.
International Association of Athletics Federations rules stipulate that a country can only enter an athlete with ‘B’ standard mark at the Olympics if they do not have anyone else in the discipline.
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However, in Kenya case, both Olympic Champion Pamela Jelimo and 2007 World titleholder Janeth Jepkosgei, have run under the 1:59.90 mark to make the required time.
Speaking from Kericho, Koech who has run 1:59.68 confirmed having received the information from Nock and was preparing to travel to Nairobi to join her colleagues in training.
“I feel happy to have been named in the team. I had given up hope, but it was surprising to hear Nock officials calling me today (yesterday) to inform me to start training for the Olympics.
“The reality is that I never stopped training after the trials. I have been training everyday and hope it will be easier to team up with my colleagues when we meet,” said Koech.
The 20-year-old former World Youth champion, made her debut for Kenya in the senior ranks in Daegu in 2011, where she wound up sixth in the semi finals clocking a slow time of 2:01.48.
However, she set her personal best time in the two-lap race in Nairobi in the trials for the World Championships when she was third behind Jepkosgei and Eunice Sum clocking 1:59.68.
She had no idea that that time will again come out to benefit her with an Olympic berth a year on. No other Kenyan apart from Jelimo, Sum and Jepkosgei has run faster.
However, Sum, who also made a debut at the world championships last year, has moved up the cadre and clinched a slot in the 1,500m distance thus leaving the position vacant.
Winnie Chebet clocked 2:00.33 at the trials, a personal best, but will have to wait for another chance to confirm her place in the Kenya team.
She won gold at the World Youth in 2004, picked a silver at the junior level in Beijing in 2006 and was fifth in her last show at the World Junior level in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2008.
World and Commonwealth champion Dai Greene is to captain the Team GB Olympic athletics team in London, adds BBC Online.
The 26-year-old will skipper the 78-strong team for the second time having held the position for the European Team Championships in Sweden in 2011.
Greene is one of Team GB’s medal hopes with long-distance runner Mo Farah who won 5000m in Daegu, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and defending 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu.