Kenya may field weak 10,000m team at Beijing Worlds

Nairobi, July 14 (IANS) Kenya risk entering a weak team to the women’s 10,000 metre race at the World Championships because many of its top stars are yet to secure qualification time, officials have cautioned.

Big names like Gladys Cherono, the World Half Marathon Champion, Commonwealth games winner Joyce Chepkirui and cross country star Emily Chebet are some of the athletes facing elimination because they have not run on track in 10,000m since January 2014 and clocked under 32 minutes, the official qualifying mark, reports Xinhua.

Head coach Julius Kirwa has cautioned the selectors that unless the athletes secure a qualifying time within two weeks, they will be eliminated from the trip to Beijing for the World Championships, which stars on Aug. 22.

“It is bad that we are worrying about qualifying time, when we are supposed to be scheming on how best to beat the opposition in Beijing,” Kirwa said in Nairobi on Monday.

Kirwa, however, said the athletes in question can still hit the qualification mark during the Kenyan trials to select the team to Beijing on July 31 in Nairobi.

“It is important to get these top athletes qualifying. What will be the need to come to the trials and win and fail to make the team because you do not have the time? They must run fast time at the trials to catch two birds with one stone, win ticket to Beijing and get qualifying time of under 32 minutes,” he said.

Only seven Kenyan women have qualified. They are Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego, who has shifted her training camp to Iten from the USA.

Kipyego clocked 4:11.95 in Los Angeles in May and will be one of the fovourites to win a ticket in the Kenya team.

Others are Betsy Saina (30:57.30), Florence Kiplagat (31:48.6), Vivian Cheruiyot (31:13.29), Selly Chepyego Kaptich (31:28.07), Doricah Obare Kerubo (31:45.24) and Grace Mbuthye Kimanzi 31:57.35. of the seven only three have got the time in 2015. They are Cheruiyot, Kipyego and Kimanzi.

Kirwa said it was crucial for athletes like Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui, Emily Chebet, Veronica Nyaruai, Jackline Chepngeno, Gladys Cherono among others to qualify and make it to the trials to boost the competition spirit.

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