Six opt out of Durban team to focus on Rio Trials

Lydia Rotich celebrates winning 3000m women steeplechase national title during the African Championships Trials in ...
Lydia Rotich celebrates winning 3000m women steeplechase national title during the African Championships Trials in Nairobi on May 29, 2016. She is among the six who have pulled out of the Durban team. Photo/Oliver Ananda/

Six athletes have dropped out the 20th Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Senior Championships in Durban, South Africa to focus on the Olympics Trials that will be held on June 30 and July 1 in Eldoret.

They are lead by 2010 African women steeplechase bronze winner, Lydia Rotich, Sandra Chebet (women 1500m), Kenneth Kipkemboi (men 10000m) and men 800m runners, Nelson Kiplagat and Jonathan Kitilit.

The athletes will not be replaced in the Durban-bound squad since they declared their decision after visas for the team that is scheduled to travel on June 20 had been processed.

However, head coach David Kitur is optimistic the remaining team will deliver the desired results as he and his assistant coaches continued polishing on the techniques and speed.

“About six athletes asked to be excused so that they focus on the Olympics trials, since they have only two days to prepare for the Trials upon return and felt they may be disadvantaged due to jetlag and fatigue.

“I’m confident with those who have remained in the team and sure to bag gold medals, especially with the likes of (Aron) Koech and (Boniface) Mucheru in the 400m Hurdles and Eunice Kadogo 100m and 200m for women wants to win,” the tactician said at the team’s training camp at Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani.

The 4x400m relay team will also use the five-day event to qualify for the Olympics. Hence tight competition is expected amongst Kenyan athletes and the Botswana team.

Team captain Raymond Kibet will double up in his 400m speciality and 4x400m relay and is seeking a second gold after he teamed up with Alex Sampao, Kiprono Kosgey and Boniface Mweresa for the top medal at the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

“I shall approach the 400m heats with an aim to make to the finals and after that with God by my side I hope to win a gold medal. When it comes to the 4x400m relay we shall also be targeting gold though we expect tough competition from Botswana.

“Last time I met with them I was junior and we managed to win due to our devotion. Despite missing Sampao in the team who has an injury, I’m confident that the gold will be ours.

“The team is motivated and is focusing on speed work as we do the final touches on our techniques before we travel,” the skipper assured.

The 20-year-old Kibet will focus on the Olympics Trials for the 400m in Eldoret.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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