Athletics Kenya on Friday named a final team of 49 athletes for the World Championships due August 4-13 in London. However, the 2016 National 400m hurdles champion Haron Koech and National triple jump champion Elijah Kimitei were among eight athletes dropped from the team.
Experienced Ezekiel Kemboi, who is going for a record fifth consecutive World 3,000 steeplechase title, is the team captain deputised by seven times Africa race walk champion Grace Wanjiru. The first batch of Team Kenya athletes will leave on August 1 followed with the next on August 7.
While naming the team on Friday at the team’s residential training at the Moi international Sports Centre, Kasarani, Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jackson Tuwei said that Koech and Kimitei, who had attained qualifying standard in their respectively races, have been locked out after IAAF registration system failed to capture their names.
Koech and Elijah Kimitei want IAAF to include them at the World Championships due August 4-13 in London.
The two athletes said that failure of their competition system to capture their names should not destroy their chances of taking part at the global championships and called on Athletics Kenya to strongly pursue the case with IAAF.
“I just can’t believe this. The IAAF must do something since failure of their machine is not of our making,” said Koech, who clocked 49.39 seconds at a race in Italy on July 16 to qualify for his second world event.
“It’s demoralising considering the efforts I have put in to qualify.”
Tuwei also sought to clarify the fate of the 800m runner Michael Saruni, who was left out on Monday during the final entry, saying the technical bench unanimously agreed to drop him owing to poor form.
Also dropped from the team yesterday were the 4x400m women’s relay team for Jacinta Shikanda, Veronica Mutua and Maureen Jelagat and the men’s 4x400m relays team after they fell in ranking by the time of final entry on Monday.
The only athlete who was affected in men’s 4x400m is former national 400m champion Alphas Kishoyian, who also failed to attain the 400m qualifying time.
The AK boss said efforts to raise Koech and Kimitei’s issue with the IAAF proved futile after IAAF’s competition department rejected their appeal.
However, Tuwei said all is not lost since they have lodged an appeal to have Koech replace his injured brother Nicholas Bett, who will not be defending his World 400m hurdles title.
“They said that nothing could be done after the system failed to capture their names. We shall still follow up the matter since these athletes qualified,” said Tuwei. “Furthermore, Koech is currently ranked 35 in the world yet they have taken 40 athletes for the hurdles.”
“If they system failed to pick up Koech’s name then they should allow him to replace Bett. This is a terrible thing. We can’t fail to have all the hurdlers, who were in Beijing Worlds and Rio Olympics missing out in London,” said Tuwei after Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist also withdrew because of an injury.
Mucheru, who is the reigning Africa 400m hurdles champion, was also a finalist at the 2015 Beijing World Championships.
Saruni had left camp for almost a week without permission claiming that he read on social media about his dismissal from the 800m team.
TEAM KENYA ATHLETES
Women’s 10,000: Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai, Alice Aprot
Men’s 10,000m: Geoffrey Kamworor, Bedan Karoki, Paul Tanui
Men’s 100m: Mark Otieno
Men’s 200m: Mark Otieno
Women’s 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo, Sheila Chepkirui
Men’s 5000m: Cyrus Ruto, Davis Kiplagat, Kiprono Menjo
Women’s 400m: Maximilla Imali
Men’s 400m: Raymond Kibet, Collins Omae, Boniface Mweresa
Men’s Javelin: Julius Yego
Men’s 1500m: Ronald Kwemoi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Asbel Kiprop
Women’s 1500m: Faith Chepn’getich, Winnie Chebet, Judy Kiyeng.
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase: Cellphine Chespol, Beatrice Chepkoech, Purity Kirui, Hyvin Kiyeng
Men’s 3,00m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Brimin Kipruto,
Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi
Women’s 800m: Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emily Cherotich
Men’s 800m: Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett, Ferguson Rotich,
Men’s walk race: Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira
Women’s race walk: Grace Wanjiru
Men’s Marathon: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Paul Lonyangata
Women’s marathon: Edna Kiplagat, Hela Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech.