Athletes converge on Lorna Kiplagat Stadium in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on Saturday to fight for places in Team Kenya that will compete in next month’s World Relay Championships to be held in Japan.
But Kenya will now have her men’s 4x400 metres team qualify for the global championship from elsewhere after International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) failed to ratify their times from last year’s Africa Championships in Assaba, Nigeria.
Athletics Kenya has clarified that IAAF does not recognise the times athletes posted in Assaba, among them a Championships Record set by Team Kenyan because the venue of the championship, Stephen Keshi Stadium, had not been certified by IAAF.
Athletics Kenya’s senior vice president, Paul Mutwii, on Friday said selectors will still pick a 4x400m team at the national relay trials today at Lorna Kiplagat Stadium.
Mutwii disclosed that AK hopes to deal with the new development in two ways. “We have made an appeal at IAAF since the mistake is not of our own making,” said Mutwii, adding that alternatively, Kenya’s 4x400m can qualify for the championship at events in Botswana, Mauritius and in the United States of America.
The World Relay Championships will be held from May 12-13 in Yokohama, Japan. Kenyan team of Jared Momanyi, Alphas Kishoyian, Aron Koech and Emmanuel Korir set a new 4x400m Championship Record of 3:00.92 in Assaba, beating South Africa (3:03.50) and Nigeria (3:04.88) to gold at the championship.
The three countries surpassed the World Relay qualifying time of 3 minutes, and 05.00 seconds. It’s only Nigerian women’s team that won the 4x400m title in a World Relay qualifying time, clocking 3:31.17. Kenya, which finished second, timed 3:35.45, missing the qualifying mark of 3:34.70.
But that performance by Nigeria will count for nothing following IAAF’s decision.
Mutwii indicated that Athletics Kenya will know fate of its appeal on Monday during the start of the Confederation of Africa Athletic (CAA) Under-18 and Under-20 Championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Besides the men and women’s 4x400m, Kenya will also have to qualify her 4x100m teams at different championships. The qualifying times are 39.10 seconds and 44.20 seconds respectively.
Mutwii disclosed that AK will select a team of five athletes in each event in Iten today, where the first four athletes with fastest times will gain automatic places.
There will be a wild card for the fifth athlete. Athletes who will run flat races will battle it out for places in six events - mixed shuttle hurdles relay, 2x2x400m, 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m.