Monday, March 5, 2012

Masai siblings to battle for Olympic slots as team named

Photo/FILE From left: Kenya’s Linet Chepkwemoi Masai, Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot and Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego pose on the podium after the women’s 10,000 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu on August 27, 2011. Cheruiyot took gold with Kipyego winning silver and Masai bronze. All three have been lined up for Olympic selection.

Photo/FILE From left: Kenya’s Linet Chepkwemoi Masai, Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot and Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego pose on the podium after the women’s 10,000 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu on August 27, 2011. Cheruiyot took gold with Kipyego winning silver and Masai bronze. All three have been lined up for Olympic selection. 

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

The 10,000 metres races at the London Olympic Games could end up being a family affair for Kenya after three siblings were on Monday named in the provisional team.

Linet Chepkwemoi Masai, who won her maiden world title in the 10,000m at the 2009 Berlin World Championships before settling for bronze at last year’s global meet in Daegu, is once again in the women’s 10,000m provisional team.

The 2009 Berlin World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist, Moses Ndiema Masai, who is also the 2005 Africa Junior 5,000m/10,000 champion and the younger Dennis Chepkongin Masai are both also garnering for Olympic 10,000m tickets.

Paced to victory

The men’s 10,000m provisional team has 25 athletes where Luca Kimeli Rotich leads with a qualifying time of 26 minutes, 43.98 seconds.

Moses, 25, has 27:10.05 while the 20-year-old Dennis has garnered 27:32.97.

Linet, who paced to victory in junior category at the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa and was to claim the world junior record in 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics despite finishing fourth, is among eight athletes in the women’s team.

Highlight in the team

“Who knows, all the Masai siblings can make it to the Olympics. I am 100 percent sure of Linet while Moses and Dennis have a battle at hand but can also make it with hard work,” said head coach, Julius Kirwa.

US-based Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego, with a qualifying time of 30:38.35, is the highlight in the team especially after winning silver behind compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot at the Daegu World Championships.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion, Lucy Kabuu, and 2007 Osaka World 5,000m bronze medallist, Priscah Jepleting, are also in the shortlisted team.

It’s only Kabuu who is yet to attain the Olympic qualifying mark in the 10,000m.

However, the 2011 Daegu World Championships 5,000m and 10,000m winner Vivian Cheruiyot has been entered in the 5,000m and 10,000m and is likely to double up in London.

Cheruiyot has the best qualifying time of 14:20.87 in 5,000m team that has 13 athletes picked for residential training.

‘A’ qualifying standard

The 2005 World Youth and 2006 World Junior champion in 3,000m, Veronica Nyaruai, and Gladys Chemweno, who has represented Kenya at four world junior cross country events, are the only ones with the Olympic qualifying time in the 5,000m

The ‘A’ qualifying standard for men in the 5,000m is 13:20.00 while 13:27.00 is the ‘B’ standard. The men’s ‘A’ standard time in the 10,000m is 27:45.00 while 28:05.00 is the ‘B’ standard.

The ‘A’ and ‘B’ standards for women’s 5,000m are 15:15:00 and 15:25.00 while the 10,000m required times are 31:45.00 and 32:10.00 respectively. Athletics Kenya said they will allow certain athletes, whom they know are capable, to double up.

“But the coaches will give us the recommendations. We also hope that all those who have not attained the qualifying time will do so either in A or B,” said AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat at Monday’s press briefing.

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