AK name Tokyo marathon team with Kipchoge, Cheruiyot in it

Saturday, February 1st, 2020 10:41 |
Sports CS Amina Mohamed addresses a gathering during a recent sports function at a Nairobi Hotel. PD/DAVID NDOLO

Athletics Kenya (AK) Friday unveiled a strong squad of  10 marathoners that will represent the country at the Olympic Games set for Tokyo, Japan.

Just as expected, world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, though absent,  will headline the men’s marathon team  for the global extravaganza planned for July 24 to August 9. Besides the three marathoners in each gender, AK also named  two reserves in both categories.

  The announcement  made AK president Jack Tuwei  that was uniquely witnessed by Sports CS Amina Mohammed and her new  PS Joe Okudo and her culture counterpart Josephta Mukobe as well as CAS Hassan Noor, Tokyo Games Chef de Mission Waithaka Kioni and Team Kenya to Olympics General team manager Barnabas Korir ended months of anxiety on who was to make to the team.

The selection of the man regarded as the best marathoner in the recent time  was no rocket science for the Riadha House federation. Besides being the Olympics defending Champion, Kipchoge retained his London Marathon title and also ran a brainstorming 1:59:40 becoming the first human to complete a 42km race in under two hours. Kipchoge was, however, missing during the unveiling that had the other nine marathoners at Riadha House.

The men’s team also has world  marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto,  Boston and Chicago marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, 2016 world half marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki and Titus Ekiru, the surprise inclusion in star-studded men’s team, however, as reserves.

World Half Marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor was the biggest omission from the team. He therefore have to fight for his place in the men’s 10,000m team if he is to clinch the elusive Olympics medal.

The women’s team will be led by another world record holder Brigid Kosgei. She will be joined by world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, the 2018 London marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot. Valary Aiyabei and Sally Chepyego complete the team as reserves.

There was no room for  four-time New York City marathon Mary Keitany and two- time World marathon Champion Edna Kiplagat.

Tuwei said  with the qualifying standards for men being 2:11:30 and 2:29:30 for women, it was difficult to decide on the athlete given so many athletes have made the qualifying time since only three slots are available for each gender. “We have agreed that they are going to start camp May 1 in Kaptagat. We have allowed the athletes time to go and prepare themselves. Afterwards it shall be serious work focused towards Tokyo,” said Tuwei who added that coaches will be named during camp opening.

Cabinet Secertary Amina Mohamed congratulated AK for being the first federation to unveil the first team for Olympics early saying it was a sign of success in Tokyo. “I want to assure all of our athletes of the government’s support more so towards the Olympics,” she said. 

                  - Amos Abuga

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