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November 20, 2018

Obiri gets wildcard

Hellen Obiri of Kenya celebrates winning the women's 5000m final of the IAAF Athletics Diamond League meeting at Olympic Stadium in Rome, Italy, June 8, 2017. /REUTERS
Hellen Obiri of Kenya celebrates winning the women's 5000m final of the IAAF Athletics Diamond League meeting at Olympic Stadium in Rome, Italy, June 8, 2017. /REUTERS
World 5000m champion Helen Obiri has been exempted from the Commonwealth Games trials slated to start today at the Moi International Stadium, Kasarani.
The Olympic silver medallist is slated to run an indoor race in Europe this weekend as she looks to attain a qualification time for the Kenya team to the World Indoor championships slated for Birmingham next month. The Kenya team to the event will be announced on Monday.
Obiri clinched the world indoor 3000m title in Istanbul in 2011 and bagged a silver at the world indoor event in Spot Poland in 2013 when she came home second.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said they took the move after receiving a request from Obiri.
“As of now, Obiri has communicated and told us of her plans and we have exempted her from competing in this weekend’s trials. She is still very much in our team for the Commonwealth Games,” added Tuwei.
He said the selection format of 1-2-3 across the line will not be applicable to all races as earlier announced. This, Tuwei said will not apply in sprints and field events. “For the sprints and field events, that can’t work. Besides, those who qualify must attain the qualification time to be part of the team to the Commonwealth Games,” said Tuwei. The AK boss noted that the 1-2-3 format will be used for the middle and long distance races. The trials start today with only decathlon today. The rest of the programme will continue tomorrow. Tuwei said despite the hue and cry over the composition of marathoners and athletes invited to the trials, AK settled for the best and the marathoners have started training at Ngong .
“ I know issues have been raised about our marathoners but the team selected will do the country proud. Most of our elite runners have engagements with the big city marathons and they will not be available for the Commonwealth event,” added Tuwei.
He asked athletics enthusiasts to turn up in large numbers for the trials. “I’m asking all Kenyans of good will to turn up in big numbers and cheer our athletes today and tomorrow,” added Tuwei. Kenya will send 65 athletes to the games slated for April 4-15 in Gold Coast. Kenya topped the medal standings in athletics at the 2014 Glasgow Games in Scotland with 23 medals - 10 gold, 10 silver and three bronze.
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