• "I was not strong enough today (yesterday). I just my last injections yesterday evening (Wednesday) before embarking on my journey to Nairobi," Edward Zakayo.
• Gold medal in the men's 5,000m has been an elusive one for Kenyan athletes in the last six editions of the event and Kibet is optimistic they will break the jinx
Athletics Kenya (AK) could be forced to break their own selection rules to accommodate Commonwealth bronze medallist Edward Zakayo in the 5,000m team for the World Championships later this month in Doha.
Zakayo, the 2018 World U-20 5,000m champion clocked 14:02.44 to finish ninth in an event that attracted 13 athletes during the national Trials at Nyayo Stadium.
However, the teenager said he has been feeling unwell since returning from All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco where he won silver in his speciality. He also won the Rabat leg of Diamond League in June.
“I was not strong enough today (yesterday). I just had my last injections yesterday evening ( Wednesday) before embarking on my journey to Nairobi. I would really like to make the team but the situation could not allow,” said Zakayo who is under treatment for pneumonia. He boosts a personal and season's best of 13:03.19 which he set in Roma, Italy in June.
Michael Kibet won the 5,000m race in 13:26.83 with national champion Daniel Simiyu second in 13:27.95 after struggling in the last 80 metres. Nicholas Kimeli completed the podium in 13:27.99.
However, murmurs have it that if AK sticks to the 1-2-3 across the line selection, Kenyans are likely to struggle in containing Ethiopians and Ugandans over the distance in Uganda.
The men's 5,000m gold has been elusive for Kenya in the last six editions of the World Championships although Kibet is optimistic of ending the jinx. Benjamin Limo was the last Kenyan to win the title in Helsinki, 2005.
“The race was tough but I'm glad I made it. I believe this is the time for Kenya to reclaim the 5,000m world title. It has been over 10 years and I am positive I can win it,” said Kibet.
The 3,000m steeplechase quartet will be hoping for a repeat of the clean medal sweep from the Africa Athletics Championships where Beatrice Chepkoech, Celliphine Chespol and Fancy Cherono struck gold, silver and bronze respectively.
In Doha, they will be joined by 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng. Chepkoech is a wild cardholder for the 2019 worlds and has dominated the Diamond League in the event. Chespol, 20, is a two-time (2016, 2018) WU-20 3,000m steeplechase champion. She also won the WU-18 title in 2015 and Commonwealth Games silver medal in 2018. The 18-year-old Cherono is the reigning national champion and won the 2018 Africa Youth 2,000m steeplechase title.
Today, the men's 800m final is billed to be blistering as top guns line up to contest for the three Doha tickets on offer. Emmanuel Korir, Ferguson Rotich and Jonathan Kitilit headline the final which also has Nicholas Kiplagat, Abel Kipsang Cornelius Tuwei, Collins Kipruto and Ng'eno Kipng'etich.
Former World, Africa and Commonwealth 800m champion Eunice Sum leads the chase in the women's 800m final alongside former WU-18 winner Jackline Wambui, 2016 Africa Championships 800m bronze medalist Emily Cherotich and Eglay Nalianya.
Others in the race are Sylvia Chesebe, Jarinter Mawia, Naomi Korir and Naumi Chepchumba. No athlete made the cut for Doha in long jump and sprints.