Kenya to send big team to athletics Worlds

Nairobi, June 13 (IANS) Kenya will send a big squad to the World Athletics Championships in Beijing as it bids to rule the middle and long distance races in the premier track and field competition to be held between August 22-30.

Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president David Okeyo said the country will have a quality team in the relay and sprint races to supplement the medals from the middle and long distance events, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

“We have medal prospects in relays and the field events. Our javelin athlete Julius Yego is doing well and we hope we can compete well in 400 metres and the relays,” said Okeyo from Eldoret on Friday after touring the athletes training camp.

Kenya sent a team of 49 athletes to the 2013 championships in Moscow, and Okeyo believe they will be able to have at least 60 athletes in Beijing.

“We are scheming on how best to send a big quality team to Beijing. We are talking with athletes and those who have got the qualification marks will have their chance,” he said.

World athletics governing body, IAAF’s rules demand that only the best three from each country can compete in each of the disciplines in Beijing.

IAAF has said that a record number of athletes are expected to compete at the World Championships in Beijing in August.

Preliminary entries of 2,567 athletes (1423 men and 1144 women) have been received from 203 federations for the championships.

Even taking into account the usual reduction in numbers between preliminary entries and final participants, the IAAF is optimistic that Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium will witness the biggest ever gathering of athletes for the sport’s premier event on its calendar.

There were 1,335 athletes from 153 member federations at the first World Championships in 1983, which demonstrates how the sport has progressed at the highest level in the past 30 years.

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