What you need to know:
- Kirwa clarified that Kenya will only be allowed one wild card in events where they have both the world champion and Diamond League Series winners hence important for every athlete to compete in the trials.
- Kirwa said that it’s the selectors who will decide who gets the wild card between the world champions and Diamond League series winners.
Athletics Kenya head coach Julius Kirwa has warned defending World champions and Diamond League Series winners against skipping the World Championships trials starting tomorrow at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Kirwa clarified that Kenya will only be allowed one wild card in events where they have both the world champion and Diamond League Series winners hence important for every athlete to compete in the trials.
Kirwa said that it’s the selectors who will decide who gets the wild card between the world champions and Diamond League series winners.
The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) gives defending champions and Diamond League Series winners the privilege of a wild card to the World Championships.
Ideally, a country is allowed to enter three athletes in each event as long as they have attained the qualifying times and distances.
“Let no one abscond from trials because of their current status that gives them a wild card,” warned Kirwa, adding that the panel of selectors will be the one to decide on who gets the wild card.
“Kenya will only be allowed to field a maximum of four athletes and not five in events where they have both the world champion and Diamond League winner,” said Kirwa.
Kenya has world champions and Diamond League winners men’s 800m and 3,000m steeplechase and both have automatic entries to the World Championships due August 4-13 in London.
Olympic and World 800m champion David Rudisha is targeting a hat-trick in London in the 800m while Ferguson Rotich won the Diamond League Series last year.
Ezekiel Kemboi hopes to complete a record five consecutive victories in men’s 3,000m steeplechase where Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, who won the Diamond League Series last year will also compete.
World champions Julius Yego (javelin), Nicholas Bett (400m hurdles), Hyvin Kiyeng (3,000m steeplechase), Asbel Kiprop (1,500m) and Vivian Cheruiyot (10,000m) have wild cards to World Championships.
Rudisha, who is expected in the country today from Germany where he has been training, has opted out for the trials by virtue of being the world champion while Cheruiyot has since quit track, having scaled to marathon.
“I have asked to be exempted from the trials and earn my privilege of the wild card as the reigning champion,” said Rudisha.
Kipruto, who won silver in 3,000m steeplechase at the 2013 Moscow and 2015 Beijing World Championships, will take part in the trials alongside Kiprop, Yego, Bett and Kiyeng.
“We can only settle for one in events where we have world champions and Diamond League winners,” said Kirwa. “We request them to turn up and compete and leave the rest to the selectors.”
Kiyeng, the Olympic 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist, is keen on performing well at the trials, which she said will be key to her title defence. The women’s race will go to straight the final on Saturday.
“I have trained well and hope for the best,” said Kiyeng, who expects stiff challenge from the national record holder Cellphine Chespol, who is also the World Under-20 and World Under-18 champion.
With Kemboi sick, the floor is now left for Kipruto, 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist Abel Mutai, 2015 Diamond League Series winner Jairus Birech, and 2008 Olympic champion Brimin Kiputo among others to battle.
“I would have loved to thrill my fans here but I am unwell,” said Kemboi.
The men’s 3,000m steeplechase and 800m will start with the semi-finals on Friday. Among the races that will go to straight finals on Friday are women’s 10,000m, men’s 5,000m, men and women’s 100m, and men’s high jump and triple jump.