NAIROBI, June 24 (Xinhua) — Four years ago Kenya entered a squad of 46 athletes at the Olympic Games in Beijing and only 14 were lucky to return home with a medal.
However, a lot of water has gone down the drain and as Kenya prepares for the London Olympics, which start in a month’s time, five of the 14 lucky medallists will be making the trip to the English capital after passing the explosive Kenyans trials Saturday in Nairobi.
Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo, Brimin Kipruto, winner in 3,000m steeplechase and Asbel Kiprop the king of 1,500m distance are the only gold medallists returning to the Olympics.
There will be no room for Wilfred Bungei (800m), Nancy Jebet Lagat (1,500m) and the late Samuel Wanjiru (Marathon). Janeth Jepkosgei, the 800m world bronze winner is the only survivor among the Olympic silver medallists.
Catherine Ndereba hopes of winning an Olympic gold have been buried after she retired from marathon while Eunice Jepkorir and Eliud Kipchoge were not fit enough to force their way to the 46 member Kenya team that was named Saturday for the games in London.
Only Edwin Soi will be retained among the four bronze medallists after he proved his prowess in the 5,000m distance.
However for Richard Mateelong, Micah Kogo and Alfred Kirwa Yego, the task of Kenyan trials was too much for their liking.
However, head coach Julius Kirwa has jumped to the defence of the selected team warning the opponents to dismiss the Kenyans at their own peril.
“It is always hard to name a Kenya team. If we repeat the trials tomorrow, certainly some of the athletes that have made it today will miss out.
“In Kenya nothing is constant, especially in middle and long distance races. There are new athletes who are emerging everyday and it will be like thing always. The younger generation is quickly staking claim to a slot in the team and they will not disappoint, they will go on to conquer the world,” Kirwa told Xinhua on Sunday in Nairobi.
Alongside track, National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) official Stephen Soi confirmed that David Dunford will be joining his brother Jason as Kenyan representatives at the London games.
The duo were in Beijing four years ago, where Jason ruled the world for seven minutes when he posted a new Olympic record in 100m butterfly discipline. USA Michael Phelps shuttered the record later.
“We have got confirmation from World Swimming Federation (FINA) granting David Dunford the wild card to compete at the Olympics,” said Soi.
Kenya will have two boxers at the Olympics with Elizabeth Andiego was granted an Olympic berth by Amateur International Boxing Association after it ruled that she had lost unfairly to Lien Lotte of Norway in middleweight at the World Women Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, East China.
The other boxer is Benson Gicharu. This will mean that Kenya will have athletes in three disciplines boxing, swimming and track and field. Kenya won 14 medals in Beijing – six gold, four silver and four bronze.
by John Kwoba
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Editor:Sun Luying |Source: Xinhua