The 2007 world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei has turned down the National Olympic Committee of Kenya directive to train in Bristol, England, ahead of the Olympic Games. Jepkosgei and the other 800m competitors were to be part of the contingent that left the country on Tuesday night for the Bristol camp. "Jepkosgi is not going to Bristol. She will be racing in London on July 8 and has requested permission to remain behind and prepare for the London Grand Prix. The 800m team off-course will be joining us at Bristol," asserted Kenya team chef de mission Jonathan Kosgei.
However, sources close to the Kasarani camp hinted none of the 800m runners are keen to train in Bristol. "Apart from Jepkosgei, others have not said anything yet but they are not keen. Most of them will running in Paris tomorrow (today) and have vowed to continue training at home ahead of the games," the source noted. "No one in the main team is going to Bristol. Those running in Paris tomorrow (today) will return here for training before leaving for the London Olympics later in the month," the source added.
The way things are looking, the souce said NOCK could end up with only three runners in the side events, where not much in terms of medals is expected. "The athletes in the main team have been talking and they seem to know what they want. Bristol is definitely not in their plans," the source hinted.
However, Kosgei denied the allegations saying the runners will proceed to Bristol immediately after the Paris assignment. "We have released them for the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Paris and hopefully they will join the rest in Bristol." he said. He added that Paris was key for the 800m runners because it will help them gauge their state of preparedness. He insisted the storm over Bristol has been resolved.
He revealed the issue was sparked by the fact a section of sports administrators wanted Bedford yet NOCK and government had settled for Bristol. "This is is not an issue because the altitude at both cities is the same and it won't have a negative impact on the team," Kosgei said.
Meanwhile, Athletics Kenya have named five runners for the 4x400m Olympic Games relay. Boniface Mucheru, Vincent Kiplagat, David Rudisha, Boniface Mweresa and Alphas Kishoyan are the chosen men. AK officials at Kasarani confirmed Anderson Mureta and Mark Mutai have been dropped.