THREE events have been identified to undergo qualification round on Thursday ahead of Saturday's national athletics trials at Nyayo Stadium. Crowd puller men's 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase will all undergo elimination rounds owing to their big number of qualifiers. The qualification round will kick off at 11am with 5,000m. The event has attracted 40 athletes, who will go through two semi-finals to come up with 16 finalists ahead of Saturday.
The 3,000m steeplchase will be next on the line and 20 athletes will battle it out for the final list of 12 runners. The 1,500m and 800m semi-finals will complete the day's programme. The 1,500m event has attracted 20 runners, who will be cut down to final 12 while 800m has 14, who will be whittled to the final eight.
Atheltics Kenya (AK) public relations officer, Peter Angwenyi, said this will help reduce the number of athletes entering Saturday's finals, from where the national team to the 2012 London Olympics will be selected. "All these athletes have attained 'A' standard qualification and all we will be doing is to select the final three to the Olympics from each of the disciplines," said Angwenyi.
He also revealed that all the women's events will be straight finals except for the 10,000m, whose trials were done during the national championships at the Moi Kasarani last week. Angwenyi also revealed that six of the top 800m women finalists from last week's national championships will be included in the national trials final, where they will join Olympics and World Indoor 800m champion Pamela Jelimo as well as Olympic silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei. Angwenyi also revealed that AK will use the 400m race on Saturday will double up as a yardstick to select the 4x400m relay team to the Olympics.
Meanwhile, the national 10,000m teams to the Olympics, both men and women, are expected to report for a residential training camp at the Moi, Kasarani today, alongside the team to the Africa Championships later this month in Porto Novo, Benin. Vivian Cheruiyot, Joyce Chepkirui and Sally Kipyego form the women's side while the men's team has Wilson Kiprop, Bedan Karoki and Moses Masai. According to Angwenyi, the marathon team comprising world champion Abel Kirui, London marathon champion Wilson Kipsang and Emmanuel Mutai, a late replacement for injured Moses Mosop reported to residential training yesterday at the Kerio Valley Hotel in Iten. The marathoners camp is being fully sponsored by the auspices of National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK).