AK banking on foreign runners to push relays team
Athletics Kenya is hopeful the presence of foreign athletes at the Olympic trials will help Kenya’s relay teams attain qualifying standard for Tokyo Olympics.
Athletics Kenya senior vice president and director of competition Paul Mutwii says over 33 athletes from Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan will compete during trials to be held on June 17-19 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The federation will use the three-day event to pick its team for the Tokyo Games.
“We have 22 athletes from Uganda, eight from Tanzania and three from South Sudan to enable the relay teams to meet qualifying standards,” said Mutwii during a press conference at Riadha house yesterday afternoon.
Mutwii says to qualify for Tokyo relays, World Athletics stipulates that the event must have at least three federations taking part.
Head coach Julius Kirwa revealed that the relay teams, especially the mixed team, is only some microseconds away from qualifications.
“We are placed 19th in the mixed relay team with only three teams standing between us and qualification. I feel we will make it,” said Kirwa.
Mutwii also disclosed that 356 athletes have been invited for the trials -- 155 females and 201 males -- saying all the athletes are expected in Nairobi on Wednesday latest at 3pm.
“We have arranged accommodation for the athletes, so they all have to report at the Nyayo National Stadium tomorrow before they can be taken to their respective hotels,” added Mutwii.
The men’s team will be staying at the St Luke Hotel, Rosters, while the female team will be at the Sports View Hotel in Kasarani.
AK NEC member Barnaba Korir emphasised that the criteria for selection for the invite-only trials has been made public.
“ As you know, the first two athletes to cross the finish line will earn automatic slots in the team while the third athlete will be selected through merit,” he added.
Korir added that for athletes to be selected, they must have already attained the Olympic qualifying standards in their respective events.