- Athletics Kenya offers opportunity to athletes who fail to make the 10,000m team to try out their luck in the 5,000m race at Nairobi trials
Athletes failing to make the men’s and women’s 10,000 metres teams for the London Olympic Games will have an opportunity to try their luck in the 5,000m races.
And those who will fall short in the men’s 10,000m final on June 2 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, USA, will be allowed to compete in the 5,000m qualifying round that will be preceded by the national trials.
Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, explained that the men’s 5,000m race during the national championships planned for June 21 to 22 will be used as the qualifying round ahead of the trials on June 23.
The first three athletes across the line at the Eugene final will make the men’s team for Summer Games where Kenya is yet to win gold in four decades.
“We already have 18 athletes who have made the Olympic qualifying time in the 5,000m hence the need for a qualifier when the 10,000m athletes will join them from Eugene,” Kiplagat said.
“There are those who would like to double up and we must give them a chance.”
AK expect close to 29 athletes in the 5,000m qualifying round where the field will be whittled down to 12 to take part in the trials.
“The qualifying round is to ensure quality,” said the athletics boss.
Kiplagat explained that the women’s 10,000m trials would be held a week before the 5,000m trials on June 23, so as to allow athletes to double up.
“The women’s races will be straight finals due to the few qualifiers,” said Kiplagat, who was firm that no wild cards will be given to any athlete.
Some of the athletes who are likely to double up in the men’s team include the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist, Eliud Kipchoge.
Kipchoge, who is also the 2003 Paris World Championships 5,000m winner, finished second during the mini-trials for the 10,000m team.
Likely to double up
The 2010 Africa 5,000m bronze medallist, Mark Kiptoo, who also stage similar exploits at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is likely to also double up.
He finished fourth during the mini-trials in Nairobi that was won by 2009 World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist, Moses Ndiema Masai.
It’s obvious when it comes to double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot since she has already expressed her intentions ahead of the London Games.
World 10,000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego has the leading qualifying time of 30:38.35 in 10,000m, Cheruiyot has 30:48.98 while the 2009 Berlin Worlds 10,000 champion Linet Masai boasts of 30:53.59.
Lucy Kabuu, who is yet to attain the ‘A’ Standard qualifying time of 31:45.00, is also eying the 10,000m team slot.
Only eight women have managed the qualifying time in 10,000m while 11 have surpassed the ‘A’ Standard time of 15:20.00 in 5,000.
Cheruiyot has the leading time of 14:20.87 in the women’s 5,000m.