NAIROBI (Xinhua) —
Kenyan athletics officials on Tuesday
reaffirmed that the country will present a team at the World
Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China on March 28.
is despite efforts by some elite athletes to boycott the
country’ s national trials set for Saturday in Nairobi to
select the team to the championships.
“Kenya will be at the World cross. We are the defending
champions and there is no way we will stay away. There are
politics over leadership of Athletics Kenya (AK), but that
will not be allowed to interfere with the running of the
competition programme,” AK president Isaiah Kiplagat told
journalists in Nairobi.
Kiplagat said calls by Professional Athletes Association of
Kenya (PAAK) for athletes to keep off the event, which is an
IAAF Permit Meeting is an exercise in futility.
competition, Kiplagat said, stands out as a national event
and attempts to disrupt it would derail Kenya’ s bid to
continue its winning tradition.
“This is a national event and we cannot allow some people
to disrupt it just like that. We shall be at the venue and
anyone who will try to disrupt the event will face the
consequences,” said Kiplagat.
week, PAAK which brings together a sizable number of elite
athletes, said it would lobby athletes to boycott the trials
in a protest move to have Kiplagat resign as AK president.
Teams from the regions will be arriving in Nairobi from
Thursday for the event set for Saturday.
“The regions are sending their teams and we are set for
the event. There should be no cause for alarm. I can
assure you that all the athletes enlisted for the event
will be running, including from regions from the rebel
chairmen,” said Kiplagat.
Kenya and Ethiopia are far and away the most successful
countries in the world championships’ history, winning 120
out of the 158 team titles in the competition.
two nations have met 120 times where both have fielded full
teams, with Kenya beating Ethiopia 79-41. Kenya has won four
individual senior women’ s titles and expected to re-affirm
their supremacy in Guiyang.
Benjamin Limo, the country’ s International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletes’ Representative, said
although politics over governing of athletics is rife, the
competition programme for athletes must not be interfered
“We want athletes to focus entirely on training and not on
politics. Kenya will be in China to win medals and not to
play politics,” said Limo.