Battle for Doha slots begins

Thursday, September 12th, 2019 00:00 |
Athletes participate in 10,000m men’s final during a past national trials. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Amos Abuga and Ericson Kiprono

Tickets to the September 27 to October 6 World Championships in Doha, Qatar are at stake as over 100 athletes converge at Nyayo Stadium today and tomorrow for the Athletics Kenya National Trials. Athletes must have attained IAAF qualification standard and fulfilled

Athletics Integrity Unit and anti-doping requirements for them to compete with the top three to cross the line joining defending champions and 2019 Diamond League Trophy winners on the plane to Doha.

However, athletes that attain the World Championships qualifying standards at the trials won’t make it to Doha as the qualifying window closed on September 6.

Given most Kenyan athletes have attained the qualifying time in middle and long distance races, Kenya has only four sprinters who have made it to Doha and some will use today’s event to hit qualifying marks for the 2020 Olympics.

AK president Jack Tuwei, however, expects everyone at the trials even after a number of athletes, who have already sealed their tickets, expressed reservations over the decision to have them run.

Kenya has four world champions and their status gives them an automatic place in Doha and they are also joined by Diamond League Trophy winners Beatrice Chepkoech and Timothy Cheruiyot.

“Trials are important for the federation to gauge how prepared the athletes are. 

For that case, I don’t want to hear athletes saying they don’t need the trials,” Tuwei said yesterday.

He added: “Even in events like 1,500m men where we have two athletes who have qualified for Doha, I still expect the athletes to run.” 

In today’s final, 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Chepkoech will battle it out with 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng, World Under-20 winner Celiphine Chespol, Norah Jeruto, Daisy Jepkemei, African Games silver medallist Mercy Wanjiru, Mercy Chepkirui, Faith Cherono and Caroline Tuigong.

In the men’s 5,000m final, newly-crowned African Games champion Robert Kiprop will be out to try and make the team in a star-studded field of 22 athletes that also has World Under-20 champion Edward Zakayo, Rhonex Kipruto, Ronald Kwemoi, Paul Tanui, Dominic Langat, Nicholas Kimeli, Stanley Waithaka and Benard Kibet.

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