Newly crowned London marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru could be the first man to hold both the world and Olympic gold titles if he agrees to compete at the World Championships in Berlin in August. Despite of Wanjiru confirming his intentions to compete in Berlin City Marathon in September, where he targets a world record, Athletics Kenya has gone ahead and named him in the 10-strong team that also has Boston Marathon champion Salina Kosgei and world champion Catherine Ndereba.
However, inconsistency has cost men’s defending champion, Luke Kibet, the automatic chance to travel to Berlin for a title defence. Kibet, a warder with the Kenya Prisons Service, has only won one marathon (in Singapore) since his triumph at the World Championships in Osaka in 2007.
He failed to finish both the Beijing Olympics and London Marathon races. “We have also named five reserves in both men and women category. There are some athletes who will not confirm their participation and we have a strong substitution list to pick from,” said AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat on Thursday
With Kenya having 68 men among the top 100 world best marathon runners, the final selection process was always going to be stiff. Kiplagat said the qualification time for the World Championships two hours and 18 minutes and yet Kenya has 60 men who have run faster.
The women’s time bar is at 2:43.0 with the country boasting 20 athletes who have run faster. “It is a hard issue when you look at the individual times these athletes have registered. We have to narrow down to consistency and that is what guided us to pick the 20 marathoners,” said Kiplagat.
Squad: Men: Samuel Wanjiru, James Kwambai, Duncan Kibet, Daniel Rono, Emmanuel Mutai; Women: Agnes Kiprop, Helena Loshanyang Kiprop, Irene Limika, Catherine Ndereba and Salina Kosgei. Reserves: Luke Kibet, Abel Kirui, Martin Lel, Robert Cheruiyot, David Kipkorir (men; Martha Komu, Risper Jemeli, Lydia Cheromei, Edith Masai, Irene Mogaka (women).