Athletics Kenya (AK) has now turned the trials for the Africa Senior Athletics Championships from May 27 to 29 at the Nyayo National Stadium to pre-trials for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
This follows the postponment, yet again, of the continental meet that had been planned for June 24-28 in Algiers, Algeria. The event, initially slated for June 1-5, was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
AK Director for Competitions Paul Mutwii on Thursday said the pre-trials will set the stage for the Olympic Games trials on June 17 to 19 that have been planned for Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret.
However, the availability of the Kipchoge Keino Stadium is unclear because construction work is still underway.
Notably, the national championships that were planned for June 10 to 12 at the Nyayo National Stadium have been called off. The event will now not take place for the second consecutive year.
However, Mutwii noted that the AK Regions and institutions that plan to stage their events can go ahead but under strict Covid-19 protocols. "They will have to engage AK before putting up the dates," said Mutwii.
Already, Kenya Defence Forces Championships have been lined up from May 17 to 19 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
"I want to urge our athletes to continue training since the pre-trials will be another opportunity for them to attain the Olympic qualifying standards before the trials," said Mutwii adding that the pre-trials will also be through invitation.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) in Algeria announced that they have postponed the continental championship to a later date due to Covid-19 pandemic situation following the recommendations of the scientific committee for monitoring the pandemic.
"Due to the health situation, marked by a rebound in the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the risk of circulation of new variants, the authorities have recommended the postponement of this sporting event to a later date," said the ministerial department in a press release.
The MYS called on the Algerian Athletics Federation (FAA) to make the necessary arrangements with the African Athletics Confederation (CAA) in order to agree on the new dates for the championships as soon as the situation is better.
The continental event would have perhaps been the last qualifying opportunity for those who would not have attained the Olympics times.
So far, 90 athletes have attained their Olympic qualifying standards including the final team, of eight marathoners-four men and four women.