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Eyes on Kenya trials as country selects
best talent for C’wealth Games

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya remains hopeful it will parade its best athletes at the Commonwealth Games despite several big names opting out.

There will be no Mercy Cherono, the Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion, Olympic 1,500m gold medalist Faith Kipyegon, former World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop and Olympic 800m champ David Rudisha among others.

The country has been granted a quota of 65 track and field athletes, but Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei believes that number can be increased to 75.

“We will continue negotiating with the organizers of the games to increase our slots,” Tuwei said on Friday in Nairobi.

The full Kenyan athletes’ contingent to the Gold Coast games has been put at 125. This is a reduction from the 195 participants, from Kenya who graced the 2014 edition in Glasgow, Scotland.

Four years ago, Kenya performance was average as they collected 25 medals—ten gold medals, ten silver and five bronze.

However, it is in track and field, the country’s golden goose, that real competition is expected when the trials are held in Nairobi on Saturday.

The Commonwealth Games will return to Australia for the fifth time and will be held in Gold Coast, Queensland from April 4-15.

World 5,000m champion Helen Obiri has been granted a wild card while others have also put in their requests.

But Tuwei said athletes who failed to meet the accreditation deadline, still have a chance to make the team.

“We will consider them and enter their names if they make the team. But their travel to Gold Coast is subject to Australia organizers agreeing,” he added.

Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Paul Tanui will be one of the athletes, who have shown interest in the games, but failed to submit his name in time. Tuwei said there is still an open window for invited athletes to get accredited for the Games.

“This year’s Games came early, largely because of the Australian climate. However, some of our athletes had their own individual commitments and contracts to honor like the World Half Marathon, World Indoor Championships and Big city marathons, which is only understandable that they concentrate on them and skip the Commonwealth Games,” said Tuwei.

Kenya will name its final team to Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon while those going for the IAAF World Indoor Championships scheduled for March 1-4 in Birmingham, Britain will be known on Monday.



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