AK defers Rio 2016 Trials to June 30- July 1

Athletics Kenya has pushed the Trials for Rio 2016 Olympics back to allow elite athletes compete in the seventh and eighth legs of the IAAF Diamond League in Oslo and Stockholm.

The selection event for the August Brazil Olympics has been pushed from the June 14-15 to June 30-July 31 meaning top athletes can compete at the Scandinavian legs of the 14-meet international circuit competition in Norway (June 9) and Sweden (June 16).

Athletes will also get a chance to run at the 20th CAA Africa Championships that will run from June 22 to 26 in Porto, South Africa and return home to vie for a place in the Olympics team following the changes announced by the federation on Wednesday at a press briefing in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, several top athletes will miss this weekend’s National Championships to run at the fourth Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon.

“In consultations with NOCK and the IAAF, we unanimously shifted the dates of the Olympics Trials to allow our athletes focus on clocking good times in the Diamond League Series.

“The initial dates would have implied that our athletes would have been forced out of the Oslo and Stockholm Diamond meetings on June 9 and 16 to focus on the Olympics Trials which will be held in Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County,” Athletics Kenya (AK) President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei.

Meanwhile, 18 top athletes will miss this weekend’s National Championships to run at the fourth Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon and will leave for America on Tuesday night at 10 pm local time (+3GMT).

Among them are Beijing 1500m Olympics Gold medallist and three-time world champion; Asbel Kiprop who will face Beijing silver winner, Elijah Manangoi, Daegu 2011 silver winner Silas Kiplagat, Commonwealth champion, James Magut and Andrew Rotich in the star-studded signature Bowerman Mile.

World Cross and World Half titleholder, Geoffrey Kamworor will take on Olympics bronze winner, Thomas Longosiwa, Beijing 5000m silver medallist, Caleb Mwangangi, Beijing 2008 bronze medallist, Edwin Soi, Paul Tanui, Clement Lagat and Cornelius Kagogo in the men 5000m clash.

Olympics silver winner Sally Kipyego, Moscow 2013 silver medallist, Mercy Cherono, 2014 World Indoor Champion, Hellen Obiri, Viola Kibiwott, and US-based Besty Saina will feature in the corresponding women 12 and a-half lap race.

World champion, Nicholas Bett is also seeking to improve his poor start during the third Diamond League meet in Shanghai.

“Athletics Kenya has a team of selectors who will be monitoring the athletes both at the local and international circuit. Including those who were at Diamond League season opening in Doha, Shanghai, and Rabat along with the Golden Spike meet in Czech Republic last week.

“We are not taking any chances this time round with our final team for the Olympic games as the world’s top track and field nation, a reputation we should guard jealously by unrivalled performances’ and discipline,” the federation boss stressed.

“The Africa Championships in Durban are important for us because they shall help us gauge our preparedness for the Olympics especially with growing rivalry from fellow African Nations especially Ethiopia, South Africa Burundi, Morocco Egypt Algeria and South Sudan who are quickly catching up with us,” he underscored.

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