Former World 10,000m champion LinetMasai says no one is assured of a ticket in the Kenyan team to theOlympics as new talent emerge each year to challenge for team spot. Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday on return from England, where shewon the Great Manchester Run on Sunday, Masai said past record andtimes set in foreign events count for nothing during the explosiveKenyan trials. "I'm aware of the challenge that I face in my bid to become thefirst woman to win Kenya an Olympic gold in 10,000m race. There arevery many athletes who are coming up the ranks and you only rulethem out at your own peril. The trials are very difficult. |
Not evenme or any other top athlete can say she is assured of making it tothe London Olympics," she said. The Africa 10,000m bronze medallist was referring to the emergenceof new prodigy in the 25-lap race Joyce Chepkirui, the Africa crosscountry senior women's champion. "Chepkirui is one of those young athletes who are asking questionson the status quo. Don't be surprised if she edges her way to theteam to London," she said.
Masai will be launching her season campaign on track in Eugene,Oregon on June 2 in the fourth leg of the Samsung Diamond League. "This year, I have not run a single race on track. I have beendoing training and focusing on the road race. But time is now ripefor me to go back to the track in Eugene. I will be running in the3,000m race with a lot of other Kenyans whom we will be meeting inthe trials for the Olympic team selection in Nairobi on June 15.
"But it is not in my interest to talk about doubling up in 10,000mand 5,000m yet. I have not gone past the trials selection hurdle.At the moment, my focus is on the 10,000m race alone," Masai said. Athletics Kenya has already named 10 women who have thequalification time for the 10,000m for trials in Nairobi on June15. They are double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, Masai, worldsilver medallist Sally Kipyego, former national cross countrychampion Grace Momanyi, former world 5,000m bronze medallistPriscah Jepleting, Peninah Arusei, Phyllis Ongori, DorisChangeiywo, the World Military Games champion, and CarolineNyakaga.
Peter Angwenyi, Athletics Kenya Public Relations Officer, said heexpects more runners to achieve the qualification times in theDiamond League races and provincial championships before thenationals. "We hope to have 20 athletes competing for places during thenational championships," added Angwenyi. AK announced early May that women's 10,000m Olympic trials willheld during the national championships (June 15) to allow athleteshoping to double at the Olympics to run 5,000m during the mainnational trials planned for June 23 in Nairobi. Special Report: London Olympics 2012.
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