Nairobi: Kenya is pulling the plug in an effort to discourage its athletes from doubling up at the World Championships in Beijing next month.
Two athletes — Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot and world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop — have confirmed their intentions to compete in two events in the Chinese capital, but that will have to wait, reports Xinhua.
Athletics Kenya (AK) vice-president in-charge of competitions David Okeyo said athletes must only compete in their specialties at both the Kenyan trials this weekend (July 31-Aug 1) or risk missing out completely from the championships.
“We want them to compete in events they are known to be best at. The national trials and the World Championships are not for gambling and we want to present the best talent, with surety of winning gold in Beijing,” Okeyo said here on Tuesday.
Kenya will be selecting its team for the Worlds on Friday. Okeyo said they aim to pick at least 60 athletes. Kenya sent a team of 49 to the 2013 championships in Moscow.
“I know an athlete like Kiprop, the 1,500m world champion, has indicated that he wants to run in 800m and not his traditional 1,500m. He has the qualification time in both, but it is good he remains in the four-lap and focuses on it, and if we see we have a weakness in 800m, then we can allow him to double,” said Okeyo.
“But even that is dependent on the programme of events in Beijing. All these have to be looked into before one is allowed to double up.”
Kenya finished fourth in the last championships in Moscow, claiming 12 medals — five gold, four silver and three bronze. Russia with 17 (seven gold), United States 25 (six gold), Jamaica nine (six gold) were the three best countries.
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. However, a country is free to include the world champion and three others if they all have the qualification time.
About 2,567 athletes (1,423 men and 1,144 women) have sent entries from 203 federations for the championships. There were 1,335 athletes from 153 member federations at the first World Championships in 1983.