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ANXIOUS MOMENTS: AK to name Beijing world marathon team next week

By Chris Musumba | April 29th 2015
Wilson Kipsang and Abel Kirui in 2012 London Marathon

Athletics Kenya will name its provisional marathon team to this year’s IAAF World Championships next week.

 AK Vice President David Okeyo said up to six athletes will be named  for the World Marathon Championships in August.

“We need to name the team early enough so that they can start training. To run at the World Championships needs a lot of planning and that is why we have to do it early,” said Okeyo, who was also in London for the marathon and arrived yesterday.

IAAF rules demand that a country can enter four athletes in any race and only three will be allowed to start the race.

“This is because there is no marathon world cup any more. So we must name a strong team of about six athletes to start training.

“We need to consider issues about injuries that might come in the course of the athlete preparations and the other factors that can force one to withdraw from the race,” said Okeyo.

Kenya is seeking to reclaim the World Marathon title, which was last won by Abel Kirui in Daegu, South Korea, in 2011. Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich won the gold in Moscow in 2013 and will be in Beijing to defend his crown.

The women’s title was won by Edna Kiplagat in Moscow 2013 and she has expressed desire to make her third shot on the title in Beijing.

Eliud Kipchoge won the London Marathon for the first time on Sunday in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 42 seconds ahead of Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto. Kipsang still holds the course record of 2:04.29, which he set last year.

Tigist Tufa became only the second Ethiopian woman to win in London, emulating Derartu Tulu’s triumph in 2001. She clocked 2 hours, 23 minutes, 22 seconds ahead of Mary Keitany 2:23.40. Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat was a distant fifth.

“I was in the same plane with these athletes on our way back home from London. They have said they are keen to compete at the World Championships. Their performance was great and the time superb, all finishing in two hours and four minutes. That is why we need to tell them early,” said Okeyo.

Okeyo said those who will be named will be notified early and a caveat put on the number of races they can compete in before the August World marathon championships.

Boston marathon champion Caroline Rotich is also keen to compete in Beijing. Okeyo also said athletes who compete in Rotterdam, Paris and Vienna cities will also be considered.

“We will look at the athlete’s marathon time, experience and their commitment to name them in the team to Beijing,” said Okeyo.

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