Olympics and world 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi and Paul Kipsiele are the only athletes allowed to take part in the Diamond League until the end of this week.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president, Isaiah Kiplagat, said the two are seasoned runners who can handle their own schedule. “They know what is required of them and can go ahead and take part in either Lausanne on Thursday or Paris on Saturday,” he noted. The AK boss said Sunday’s Birmingham Diamond League meeting was the last day for the rest of the runners who have attained the qualification mark and are expected to feature in the national trials next week. Kiplagat said they have written to all agents about the deadline and they are all aware.
He said AK was much concerned with the athletes who have qualified because they will form the team to the World Championships in Moscow. “We are not keen on those who have not qualified and they can continue with their campaign in the Diamond League if they so wish. However, if they qualify somewhere along the way, then we can consider,” said the AK boss.
“Some athletes had been entered in events until the end of this week and we said no. It is not just logical because we are preparing for our national trials next week,” he added.
He said it is very important that runners take a break from the ongoing Diamond League series and focus on the national trials and subsequently next month’s 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. “ It’s good to train at home two weeks before the trials if one is to make the cut for the World Championships,” he noted.
“Moscow is ahead of us and we need to select a strong team for the championships. I want to urge all top athletes to avail themselves for the trials,” he added. The AK boss said all nations are focusing on beating Kenya especially in the mid and long distance due to the country’s athletics history and it’s only logical that the runners work extra hard. He said country must maintain the high standards of performance they have set in previous events if not improve on their results at the last global championships in Daegu, South Korea.
“We want a successful team like the one we had at the 2011 World Championships since we want to maintain our high performance at the global stage. We are still the country to beat in as far as athletics is concerned and we are committed to preparing them,” he added.
Kenya were ranked third in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu with 17 medals (7 gold, 6 silver and bronze ); behind United States and Russia which topped the list with 25 and 19 medals respectively.