The first four athletes across the finish line at the national trials will gain automatic selection to the Kenya team for the World Cross Country Championships due in Punta Umbria, Spain, in March.
The national coaches have, however, not finalised the required selection criteria for the inaugural Africa Cross Country Championships which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 6.
David Okeyo, the Athletics Kenya secretary-general, said the federation will announce its final decision on which selection process will be adopted after its executive committee meeting on January 25.
The national trials will be held at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, on February 19. Head coach Julius Kirwa said the extra two team slots for the World Cross will be decided by a panel of selectors.
Both competitions important to us
“Our usual selection will be done but the panel will fill in the other two slots,” said Kirwa. “But that is from our end as the management will have to decide the other logistical issues.”
Okeyo however played down suggestions that they are looking down upon the Africa cross country meeting and will therefore be sending a poor team just to make the numbers, stating: “Both the Africa and world cross country competitions are important events to all of us.
“We want to strengthen the continental competitions because, after this year, we will have biennial competitions at the global level.
“This will, indeed, make the continental championship important.”
Okeyo, who is also vice-president of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), said Kenya will field 24 athletes each at the continental championship and World Cross.
“Kenya has huge potential in athletics and I can assure you those selected will be the best and will be able to challenge at the top level.
“There are many athletes and it is hard to say who will make the team.”
Kirwa, who has resumed his role of head coach, reiterated that consistence, merit and discipline will be used as the yardstick for selection of both teams.
Share out part of jackpot
“Now that the national cross country series is over, I would like to urge athletes to maintain the high tempo throughout the remaining part of the season and be at their best form during the national trials,” said Kirwa.
At the same time, AK treasurer Joseph Kinyua announced that the association will share out Sh250,000, which is part of the Sh1 million jackpot, to the best losers in the three race categories.
The senior women’s 8km race did not have a qualified jackpot contender after the seven-leg series.