Just a few hours into his new job, new Athletics Kenya head coach Julius Kirwa has got a lot on his plate to handle.
The 50-year-old Kirwa, who last handled Team Kenya during the 2012 London Olympics, has no qualifiers in women’s 10,000m for the World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing, China.
The only athlete who has come close to making the qualifying time of 32:00.00 minutes, is Doricah Obare Kerubo, who missed the mark by 3.18 seconds after clocking 32:03.18 to finish 17th at Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto , California on May 2.
Lucy Cheruiyot, who won Kenya Prisons meet in 32:35.45 on July 20, Veronica Nyaruai (32:39.2) and World 10,000m silver medallist Gladys Cherono (32:46.0), who finished first and second respectively during the Kenya Defence Forces meet on July 12 are the other athletes with enterprising times.
Ethiopia selected their team for the Worlds on June 17 at an IAAF Meet in Hengelo where Gelete Burka won in 30:49.68. Kenya’s World Half Marathon record-holder Florence Kiplagat, who won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, was the race pacesetter.
CLOUD HANGS OVER CHERUIYOT
The 2011 Daegu World 10,000m and 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, has just made a return to track after a maternity leave and its left to be known whether she will make the team.
Cherono, who is also the World Half Marathon champion, won silver in Moscow 2013 after losing to Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba. She is also still chasing the qualification time. Other favourites like the 2012 London Olympics silver medallist, Sally Kipyego and Betsy Saina have only competed in 5,000m where they already have clinched the World Championships time.
Kirwa has been appointed the head coach ahead of the World Championships as Isaac Kirwa was picked as marathon coach assisted by Gilbert Koech.
Former Athletics Kenya treasurer, Joseph Kinyua, who is also AK Eastern region chairman, will manage the team for the worlds.
“As you know we are yet to meet and that should top the agenda when a session is convened immediately,” said Kirwa. “There should be no cause to worry as AK will look into that.”
Kirwa appealed to the athletes who are not in contention for the 2015 Diamond League Series jackpot to minimise on their appearance in the remaining events.
He urged the athletes to avoid being burnt out by taking part in many events. “We know some athletes have good points in the Diamond League but let them take part in the most important events. They should consider the country first too,” said Kirwa. “They know the task ahead hence they should go to Beijing in their best form, not fatigued.”
Kirwa said the marathon teams that have been selected should start training immediately in Iten by Monday next week. “It’s important that they need to start training together as early as possible since their area is unique from track races,” said Kirwa.
World marathon record-holder Dennis Kimetto and 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang will spearhead Kenya’s marathon title assault at the World Championships.
Two times world defending champion Edna Kiplagat has been handed a golden opportunity to claim a hat trick as she was named in women’s marathon team.