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Kenya names Olympic marathon team

04-26-2012 07:39 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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Reigning marathon world champions Abel Kirui and Edna Kiplagat lead Kenya's list of marathon runners for the Olympics as World record holder Patrick Makau has failed to make the team. Celestine Karoney reports on Athletics Kenya’s tough decision in selecting the six athletes from a possible list of over 300 qualified athletes.

The abundance of athletics talent in Kenya is such that even a world record holder can miss out a place in an Olympic team. Patrick Makau the world’s fastest man over the 42km event was not selected when Athletics Kenya named the team of six for the Olympics. Double world champion Abel Kirui, London marathon champion Wilson Kipsang and Moses Mosop made the team in the men’s division. London marathon champion Mary Keitany, World champion Edna Kiplagat and Prisca Jeptoo are the women’s representatives. With over 100 athletes qualified in each category Athletics Kenya’s selection process was not easy.

Isaiah Kiplagat, chairman of Athletics Kenya said, "Everyone thought Geoffrey Mutai and Patrick Makau looked like obvious choices but in Kenya there’s no such thing we go with the current form of athletes. This was a hard job"

The six will go into training in Eldoret and Iten, in North Rift Kenya, regions popular for training long distance runners. David Leting the national team coach for marathon allayed fears over the duration with which these athletes have to rest after running spring marathons before the Olympics.

David Leting said, "There will be no problem since the team will go into training three weeks from now. their work out will not be alot in the run up to the games and so we aren’t worried about this."

In 2008 the late Samwel Wanjiru won Kenya’s first gold medal over the distance at the Olympic games setting a new Olympics record of 2:06.32 and the men’s team all of whom have run faster than this time will be tasked with defending the title.

David Leting said, "It would mean a lot if we were to be able to defend Wanjiru’s title since he is not with us today."

Kenya is however chasing its first gold medal at the Olympics in the women’s race but the current form of the selected athletes suggests the wait could probably end on the streets of London.

Statues of two time world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba and former world record holder Paul Tergat outside Athletics Kenya’s headquarters is a symbol of Kenya’s great performance in marathon running. For the six selected to represent the country in the Olympics many are expecting nothing short of victory especially after a year when Kenya dominated road races.

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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