Thursday, 29 June 2017 09:01

Team Kenya for the Worlds unveiled

Athletics Kenya has unveiled their travelling party for the IAAF World Championships, which will take place from 5-13 August in London, following their two-day trials at Nyayo National Stadium.

The trials saw upcoming talent battle it out with seasoned athletes in a bid to give a good account of themselves and secure tickets to the 16th edition of the World Championships.

As it happened, there was a change of guard in both the men's 5000m and the 800m races as Cyrus Rutto and Emmanuel Korir announced themselves in a commanding manner to highlight the transition taking place.

US-based Korir, a student at University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), treated the crowd in Nairobi to an incredible run as he clocked 1:43.86. The time was impressive as the venue is not considered ideal for top times in the 800m by coaches and scientists due to its 1800 above sea level elevation.

Korir is currently coached by 1988 Olympic Games gold medallist Paul Ereng who is UTEP's cross country and distance coach as well as track and field associate head coach. He was the main factor in luring the 21-year-old from Iten to a university not widely noted for their athletics programme, despite having schooled Nigerians Obadele Thompson and Blessing Okagbare previously.

Meanwhile, the jaw-dropping race was the men's 1500m where Ronald Kwemoi (also 21) grabbed the honours in a time of 3:30.89 ahead of Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi. The big loser was three-time defending World Champion and wild card beneficiary Asbel Kiprop, who dropped out of the race when it headed its homestretch.

In the women's 3000m steeplechase, the 2016 IAAF World Under-20 gold medallist Celliphine Chepteek Chespol showcased her prowess during a season which she has also beaten Rio 2016 champion Ruth Jebet (a Kenya-born Bahraini) in Eugene in the IAAF Diamond League.

In the men's steeplechase, Olympic Games champion Conseslus Kipruto continued with his dominance and will be part of a strong four-man squad at London 2017 consisting of four-time consecutive world champion Ezekiel Kemboi, 2007 gold medallist Brimin Kipruto and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Jairus Birech.

Kemboi did not participate in the trials by virtue of being a defending world champion and benefits from a wild card.

In the 10 000m men, double World Cross country winner Geoffrey Kamworor led World half marathon silver medallist Bernard Karoki and silver medalist in the Rio Games Paul Tanui across the finish line at Nyayo.

As for the women, Vivian Cheruiyot had the wild card to defend her title but has foregone it by moving from the track to road. As a result, former World Cross country victor Agnes Tirop and current World Cross country champion Irene Cheptai together with third-place finisher Alice Aprot will be tasked with retaining Cheruiyot's title.

Margaret Nyairera Wambui, bronze medallist in women's 800m at the 2016 Olympics, finished ahead of former 800m world champion Eunice Sum as she won in 1:59.68 as the latter timed 2:00.03 with Emily Cherotich getting the third place in 2:00:18

In the 1500m, Olympic champion Faith Chepngetich won in 4:05.7 followed by 1500m-convert Winny Chebet in 4:06.8 after she upgraded from 800m.

As for the field events, the main highlight was defending javelin throw champion Julius Yego launching a stadium record of 87.97m and will be the only representative in his category.

In the 800m, five men qualified for London 2017: Emmanuel Korir, World Under-20 champion Kipyegon Bett, Ereng-trained Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich and defending champion David Rudisha who did not run. However, only four will make the final squad as per IAAF rules involving wild cards.

"The IAAF will accept the participation of the current Reigning World Outdoor Champion and that of the Winner of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League (in the corresponding World Championships event) and Hammer Throw Challenge, as Wild Cards, in each individual event, on the condition that the athlete in question is entered by his Federation. If both are from the same country, only one of the two can be entered with this Wild Card. If a Member Federation has four athletes in one event as a result of this regulation, all four will be permitted to compete."

Hellen Obiri, who set the national record of 14:18.37 in the Rome IAAF Diamond league, eased into a time of 15:28.9 ahead of African silver medallist Margaret Chelimo - the two remain Kenya's only representatives having attained the 15:22 qualification time earlier this season.

The short races will see Nicholas Bett return to defend his 400m hurdles title as well as US-based Raymond Kibet who clocked 45.60 to beat favourite Alphonse Kishoiyan in 45.74 and Boniface Mweresa who finished in time of 45.91.

Athletes who don't have a qualification time yet, have until 23 July to attain one in their respective events.

Team Kenya for the 2017 IAAF World Championships

Men's 200m
Mark Otieno (20.67)

Women's 400m
Maximilla Imali (51.55)

Men's 400m
Raymond Kibet (45.60), Alphas Kishioyan (45.74), Collins Omae (45.91)

Men's 400m Hurdles
Haron Koech (49.98), Kiprono Kosgei (50.80), Nicholas Bett (Wild Card)

Women's 800m
Margaret Nyairera Wambui (1:59.68), Eunice Sum (2:00.03), Emily Cherotich (2:00.18)

Men's 800m
Emmanuel Korir (1:43.86), Kipyegon Bett (1:44.04), Michael Saruni (1:44.61), Ferguson Rotich (1:44.86), David Rudisha (Wild Card)

Women's 1500m
Faith Chepngetich (4:05.7), Winnie Chebet (4.06.8)

Men's 1500m
Ronald Kwemoi (3:30.89). Timothy Cheruiyot (3:31.05), Elijah Manangoi (3:32.03), Asbel Kiprop (Wild Card)

Women's 3000m Steeplechase
Cellphine Chepsol (9:34.03), Beatrice Chepkoech (9:34.04), Purity Kirui (9:38.47), Hyvin Kiyeng (Wild Card)

Men's 3 000m Steeplechase
Conseslus Kipruto (8:19:75), Brimin Kipruto (8:19.87), Jairus Birech (8:20.01), Ezekiel Kemboi (Wild Card)

Women's 5000m
Hellen Obiri (15:28.9), Margaret Chelimo (15:30.7)

Men's 5000m
Cyrus Rutto (13:31.5), David Kiplagat (13:31.7)

Women's 10 000m
Agnes Tirop (31:56.0), Irene Cheptai (31:56.4), Alice Aprot (32:16.7)

Women's Race Walk
Grace Wanjiru

Men's Race Walk
Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira

Women's Marathon
Edna Kiplagat, Hela Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech

Men's Marathon
Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer

Men's Javelin
Julius Yego (87.97m) (Wild Card)

Triple Jump
Elijah Kimitei