The first three athletes across the finishing line during National Trials next week will make Team Kenya for the London World Championships due August 4-13, Athletics Kenya has disclosed.
AK president Jackson Tuwei, who announced the selection criteria on Thursday said that unlike previous selections, there will be no wild cards during the trials that will take place on June 23 and 24 at the Nyayo National Stadium.
A total of 247 athletes have been invited for the two-day trials where AK will pick Team Kenya immediately after the exercise even though the official deadline is on June 30.
Tuwei noted that not all the athletes who have been invited for trials have attained the qualifying standards times for instance men’s high jump, triple jump and 100m and women’s 400 m hurdles, 100m and 200m.
“We have boosted events where there are few athletes that have attained the qualifying mark with more athletes who are close to achieving the standards times,” said Tuwei during a press briefing at Riadha House.
“The trials are strictly by invitation.”
Tuwei said he hoped the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) would give Kenya’s 4x400m men’s relay team that finished ninth during the World Relays in Bahamas a wild card.
The top eight finishers in 4x400m at the World Relays gained automatic qualification to the World Championships.
Tuwei said Kenya had the privilege of fielding at least four athletes in seven events where they have the defending champions.
Julius Yego (javelin), David Rudisha (800m), Ezekiel Kemboi (3,000m steeplechase), Nicholas Bett (400m hurdles), Asbel Kiprop (1,500m), Hyvin Kiyeng (3,000m steeplechase) and Vivian Cheruiyot (10,000m) are set to defend their titles.
Tuwei noted that Kenya have an interesting scenario in men’s 800m where the country could field five athletes, Rudisha, the 2016 Diamond League 800m series winner Ferguson Rotich and the top three finishers in the final.
Kenya topped the medal standings for the first time in the World Championships history during the 2015 Beijing competition where its athletes collected 16 medals; seven gold, six silver and three bronze.
“This is a unique situation but we shall have to consult with IAAF first. It will be great to have five since it will enhance our chances of retaining the title that Rudisha has,” said Tuwei, who was accompanied by senior vice president Paul Mutwii, treasurer David Miano and public relations officer Evans Bosire and technical director Dan Muchoki.
Tuwei noted that even though it will be difficult to double in the 5,000m and 10,000 races basing on the trials programme, but AK technical wing will meet to decide.
“We have athletes attaining times in both 5,000m and 10,000m besides 5,000m and 1,500m but we have told them to settle on one event,” said Tuwei, who cautioned athletes that they must also meet IAAF and World Anti-Doping Agency requirements so as to be allowed to compete at the World Championships.
To be eligible for the London competition, Kenyan athletes must go through three out of competition and two in competition doping tests.
Race walkers Africa champions Grace Wanjiru and Samuel Gathimba and Simon Wachira, who represented Kenya at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, won’t need to qualify again.