“Bear with us,” athletes asked after Birmingham U-turn

Athletics Kenya, after discussions with Olympics Kenya, have decided to merge the trials for Commonwealth Games and World Championships

In Summary

•AK president Jack Tuwei asks athletes to align themselves with the change of plans 

•National trials for Commonwealth Games will now be held on June 24-25

•Nock president Paul Tergat says they will work closely to produce a strong team for both events

AK President Jackson Tuwei, sprinter Maximilla Imali, Absa CEO Jeremy Awori, Olympian Mary Moraa, and legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino during the Kip Keino Classic launch
AK President Jackson Tuwei, sprinter Maximilla Imali, Absa CEO Jeremy Awori, Olympian Mary Moraa, and legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino during the Kip Keino Classic launch

Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jack Tuwei says the federation will discuss with Team Kenya athletes how best to double in the Commonwealth Games and World Championships.

The federation, after deliberations with National Olympic Committee-Kenya, announced on Tuesday that this weekend’s national trials for the Commonwealth Games will be merged with that for the World Championship on June 24-25 at Moi Stadium, Kasarani. 

This means, with the exception of marathoners, the same team to represent the country in Oregon on July 15-24 will also do duty, less than a fortnight later, in Birmingham on August 1-8.

While acknowledging that some athletes may want to compete in only one of the two assignments, Tuwei asked athletes to bear with the change of plans.

“These are some of the challenges we should expect. We will sit down and discuss with them once the trials are done to see how to go about it. This is something they have to understand,” Tuwei said.

The AK supremo said the change of plans is the norm with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted many sporting schedules around the world. 

"Last year, we hosted the World Under 20 Championship and this year, we will be having the same event in Cali, Colombia. This year, Oregon will be hosting the World Championship and next year, Budapest will host the next edition. As you can see, we have had to make adjustments to our calendar and as Kenya, we must also do the same," he said. 

Tuwei added: "These two championships come close to each other and, therefore, we need to have a strong team capable of representing the country well at both events."

The president further urged all athletes not to rest on their laurels but to ensure they meet anti-doping requirements to be considered eligible for the two competitions. 

The first two finishers in each category will earn a ticket to the two events whereas a third one will be chosen by a selection panel. 

Echoing his sentiments was Nock president Paul Tergat who reiterated the committee's dedication to helping all disciplines prepare well for the upcoming international assignments. 

He pointed out that the streamlining of preparations for the Club Games will not stop at athletics but will also enlist other federations. 

"AK and Nock will work together to prepare a strong team for the Commonwealth and World Championships. We want to offer all athletes the best opportunity to qualify for the major championships. This is the beginning as we will be working with other federations as we prepare for the Commonwealth,"  Tergat said. 

He added: "We want a strong team that is capable of flying our national flag high at both events and to bring us back more medals. So the team that will be in Oregon will fly straight away from the United States to Birmingham in UK." 

The five-time world cross country champion also urged athletes in the registered testing pool to be vigilant always and not be caught afoul of the requirements.