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Kenya cries foul over selection criteria as only nine
athletes make Africa team for Continental Cup

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Only nine athletes from Kenya have been named in the Africa team for the IAAF Continental Cup, which will be hosted in Ostrava, the Czech Republic on Sept 8-9.

Africa will have a 77-member team competing in the two-day championships, which will attract teams from Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

According to Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Secretary General Lamine Faty, South Africa will have the largest representation with a contingent of 20 athletes, followed by Nigeria and Kenya.

“South Africa will make up more than a quarter of the 77-member African team, which consists of 39 men and 35 women. We don’t have enough time to build up a strong team with athletes coming from various nationalities,” said Lamine Faty, the CAA Secretary General on Thursday.

Those from Kenya include Beatrice Chepkoech, Hellen Obiri, Julius Yego, Conseslus Kipruto, Winnie Chebet, Elijah Manangoi, Emmanuel Korir while South Africa’s Caster Semenya will compete in three events of 400, 800 and mixed relay.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei has however questioned the CAA selection, saying it was biased.

“We will pick up the issue with CAA because we don’t know what criteria was used to pick the runners especially in the relay team, which was won by Kenya,” said Tuwei.

The Africa team was selected based on performance at the Africa Championships, which were held in Asaba, Nigeria two weeks ago. The African team will consist of athletes from 18 different countries.

Though two athletes were selected in each discipline, only one was considered from each country for a specific discipline.

Kenya, which topped the standings in Asaba with 19 medals, including 11 golds, has been shocked with only nine athletes getting the nod, while former champion South Africa has the highest number of athletes, with 20 in the team.

Nigeria has 16 athletes, Morocco has six, while Egypt and Ethiopia both have four athletes on the team. Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Burundi, Swaziland, Uganda and Djibouti only have one athlete each making the team.

The Continental Cup is held every four years since 2010, replacing the previous Athletics World Cup and involves teams from Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Africa and Europe picked their teams from their continental championships, while Asia-pacific and Americas select their squads based on rankings.

In sprints, Akani Simbine and Arthur Cisse are in the 100m and Ncincilili Titi and Divine Oduduru in the 200m.

In long jump is Rushwal Samaai with Yahya Berrabah. Olympic javelin silver medalist Julius Yego is the star in throws and South Africa is building the 4x100m team. Cote d’Ivoire world medalist Marie Josee Ta Lou is selected for both 100 and 200m, Nigeria for 4x100m.



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