Two-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop will lead a mix of elites and upstarts to the IAAF World Relay Championships national trials at the Nyayo National Stadium on Friday.
But Olympic and world 800m record holder David Rudisha, world 800m champion Eunice Sum and Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Mercy Cherono will not contest for places to the second IAAF World Relay Championships set for Nassau, Bahamas, on May 2-3.
This is after they missed out in the national series despite Athletics Kenya’s directive to lock out those who fail to show up in the meetings.
Agatha Jeruto, who was in Kenya’s 4x800m silver-medal quartet in Bahamas and Walter Moenga, who picked up an injury in the last meet, are other absentee stars on Friday.
But Kiprop, 25, who has been tipped by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj, the world record holder (3:26.00), to break the metric mile record, will anchor the quest for Bahamas tickets.
Kiprop said he targets World Relays (in Nassau, Bahamas) and World Championships (in Beijing, China) this season.
“I have no other plans this season. I just want to focus on defending my title at the world championships (in Beijing, China). I will compete in few Diamond League races.
“I want to compete in the 4x800m in the World Relays and hope that we can still form a strong team for world relays,” said Kiprop.
He added: “I want to run faster this year because I disappointed my fans who had high expectations on me when I could not break the record in Monaco last year.”
He is the only Kenyan to have won gold medals in 1,500m at the IAAF World Championships –Daegu (2011) and Moscow (2013).
At least 80 athletes are at Milele Hotel, South C, in the AK two-day camp ahead of the trials. Head coach Sammy Rono said they are keen to form a strong team most of the big-name absence.
“Rudisha (who posted brilliant shows in Sydney 1:45.01 and Melbourne 1:44.94 last month) requested to be excused from the relays as he will compete in Oregon Diamond League,” said Rono.
Kiprop will team up with Commonwealth Games 1,500m silver medalist Ronald Kwemoi, Moses Kertich and Abednego Chesebe in the 4x800m and will be up against quartet of Olympic 800m bronze medalist Timothy Kitum, world junior 800m champion Alfred Kipketer, former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nicholas Kiplagat and former world youth 400m silver medalist Jeremiah Mutai.
Former Africa 800m bronze medallist Jackson Kivuva will lead Ferguson Rotich, Jonathan Kitilit and Cornelius Kiplagat in the 4x800m race.
Courtesy of standardmedia.co.ke