Reigning men’s 800 metres World champion Alfred Kirwa and 2007 All-Africa Games 1500m gold medalist Asbel Kiprop are among a galaxy of Kenyan stars named Tuesday in the country’s provisional team to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
The 100 athletes move into residential training at the Chepkoelel Campus of the Moi University in Western Kenya next Tuesday, Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, announced.
The chairman said Kenya had been forced to embark on early preparations due to the post-election violence which rocked the country and disrupted the general athletics programme earlier in the year.
He said the national athletics governing body had no alternative but to compensate the time lost. “We started the season on a bad note and many have been pointing fingers at us, claiming that we have not been preparing our teams well,” he said in an apparent reference to the IAAF World Cross Country Championship in Edinburgh, Scotland, where Kenya posted poor results.
Those in the team are, among others:-
Men: 400m – All African Games team captain Ezra Sambu, Thomas Musembi and Mark Mutai.
800m – newly crowned Doha Permit 800m champion David Rudisha, reigning World champion Alfred Kirwa and sensational sprinter Jackson Kivuva.
1500 – Pan African Games gold medallist Asbel Kiprop former African championship gold medallist Alex Kipchirchir, Daniel Komen, Gideon Gatimba and Edward Kibet.
3000m Steeplechase – newly-crowned continental 3,000m steeplechase champion Rich ard Matelong leads among others grand prix circuit master Paul Kipsiele, Michael Kipyego and Brimin Kipruto.
5000m – continental 5,000m silver medallist Isaac Songok spearheads the provisio nal team that has Leonard Komon, Joseph Ebuya and Augustine Choge among others.
10,000m – rising star Sammy Kitwara, Hosea Macharinyang, Moses Masai, Micah Kogo and Patrick Makau. Also picked for the event are foreign-based runners-Gidieon Ngatunyi, Martin Irungu and Joseph Ndambiri.
Women: 800m – World Champion Janeth Jepkosgei and the new African queen Pamela Chelimo.
1500m – Viola Chebet, Margaret Wangare.
5000m – Veteran Vivian Cheruiyot, Veronica Nyaruai, Pauline Korkwang. Also in the provisional squad are foreign-based athletes Sally Kipyego and Evelyne Wambui.
3000m Steeplechase – rising star Ruth Bosibori.
Coaches – Steve Mwaniki, Fatwel Kimaiyo (sprints). Middle Distance-Joseph Chelimo, Kipruto Kilisio. Long Distance Peter Mathu, Paul Mutui.
Steeplechase – Patrick Sang, Moses Kiptanui. Field-Caroline Kola, Joseph Mosonik.
Walk – George Kariuki.
Physiotherapist- Peter Nduhiu, Fred Cherem.
The marathon team, which has among others, reigning women’s World champion and four-time Boston Marathon champion, Catherine Ndereba, will not camp in Eldoret because they will embark on individual training.
The chairman directed the athletes to report to camp Tuesday, adding that defaulters could be axed from the team.
He warned athletes’ agents, telling them they would be banned if they did not release the runners.
The final team will be selected after the National and Olympic Trials, billed for 4 July in Nairobi.