Road to Tokyo Olympics begins in earnest for top athletes with a high profile
Mouth-watering clashes in the women 10,000m races will set the ball rolling when Athletics Kenya (AK) hosts the Tokyo Olympics pre-trials at the Nyayo National Stadium this morning.
The 8:30 am action will see heavyweights line up in two semi finals with AK insisting there shall be no final but rather rankings based on time will be applied . The pre-trials commence today and end on Saturday.
According to the start list and tentative programme of activities released by AK for the three-day championships, former Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui will be among the athletes to watch over the 25 laps battle.
The athlete led several other Kenyan athletes to achieve Tokyo Olympics qualifying times a fortnight ago in Stockholm.
“I know the level of competition will be tough because of the caliber of athletes who will be taking part in the pre trials.
I think we are going to push ourselves even further in the races,” said the national 5,000m Champion.
The athlete who has a personal best of 30:45.81 will be up against Irene Kamais, winner of the KDF Championships, Joan Chelimo, Eva Cherono, 2017 World Cross Country Champion Irene Cheptai, Daisy Cherotich, Dorcas Kimeli among others.
Cherono believes the rich field will give the nation a glimpse of what to expect during the main trials set for June 17-19 at the Kasarani Stadium.
“We are in competition mood where a lot is at stake, I have been training hard for this moment.
It will be my dream to represent my country at the Olympics,” said Cherono.
In other encounters, national 100m record holder Mark Otieno will once again face off with sprinting sensation Ferdinand Omanyala.
Both men are in red-hot form at the moment with Otieno fresh from bagging silver at the World Relay Championships in Silesia, Poland as part of the 4x200m men’s team.
On the other hand, Omanyala timed 10.01 at the 3rd Making of Champions Grand Prix in Lagos, Nigeria although the would-be national record was not recognised because the Athletics Federation of Nigeria did not allegedly sanction the event.
Mike Mokamba, Elijah Matthew and Hesbon Ochieng, who were part of the silver-winning 4x200m quartet at the World Relay Championships in Poland, will be in action in the men’s 200m.
AK has also notified the athletes that in the men’s 1,500m there shall be five heats with the best two per heat and five fastest losers proceeding to the final.
The 5,000m men has also witnessed high entries meaning there shall be four heats. The best three per heat and three fastest losers shall proceed to the final.
Athletes who will be eliminated from the preliminary or qualifying rounds of their respective events will not be allowed into Nyayo Stadium the next day.