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Runners’ poor form worries coach Kirwa

Friday January 14 2011

Kenya’s athletics head coach Julius Kirwa. Photos /MOHAMMED AMIN

Kenya’s athletics head coach Julius Kirwa. Photos /MOHAMMED AMIN 

By Chris Musumba [email protected]

Julius Kirwa is a worried man. With the National trials just a month away, the head coach has yet to establish a combination that can weather the storm in the explosive senior men’s 12km race at the World Cross Country Championship in Punta Umbria, Spain, in March.

Only world cross country champion Joseph Ebuya has maintained a top notch performance, winning five races he entered in at the IAAF World Series in Europe.

Eliud Kipchoge, the winner in Edinburgh last weekend, is the other athlete Kirwa is looking at as the pillar for his team for Spain.

Big prospects

The other big prospects for the Kenya senior men’s 12km team are Africa 5000m silver medallist Vincent Yator, Philemon Kimeli, Sammy Kitwara, Mathew Kisorio and Titus Mbishei.

But Kipchoge, who returned from Scotland on Monday, has not made up his mind if he will compete in cross country.

“I have two races in the European indoor circuit, which I intend to run, one in Stuttgart and another in Dusseldorf, but they (races) are meant to help me work on my speed. I will then think of the trials after that,” said Kipchoge.

Kirwa has made a passionate appeal to all elite athletes to show up at the national trials, which will be used to select the team for both Africa and World Cross Country Championships.

Kirwa has singled out Africa 10,000m champion Wilson Kiprop and bronze medallist Geoffrey Mutai as potential runners to give veteran athletes Kipchoge and Ebuya, a run for their money.

“It is important that these two athletes who competed at the Africa Championship show up. Making the Kenya team is always a hard task but we have two competitions, which we want to enter teams in and there will be room enough for most of them,” he said.

Moses Masai, the world 10,000m bronze medallists, is yet to fully shake off a nagging ankle injury he has had for two years.

“I will be coming to Nairobi for the police championship but I will not run at the national trials.”

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