Nairobi, July 21 (IANS) Athletics Kenya (AK) has confirmed that superstar David Rudisha will defend his men’s 800 metres title at the IAAF World Championships in London.
The announcement on Thursday ended intense speculation in local media that the two-time Olympic and world record holder would not make the final squad for the global track and field signature event, reports Xinhua news agency.
“It is no-brainer. He is the world record holder, world champion and big time performer at big championships. He has to be in team,” AK Vice-president Paul Mutwii told journalists in Nairobi.
The federation is due to announce the final squad for the August 4-12 event with the men’s 800 metres attracting attention since five athletes were named to the provisional squad with only four eligible to be entered into the competition.
Rudisha opted out of the June 24 Kenya trials for London 2017 to focus on regaining his shape after an underwhelming season and initially, his name was missing from the provisional team.
However, he was included in the squad after reports he was missing from the team circulated on social media drawing a huge backlash on the AK.
Emmanuel Korir, who won the Kenya Trials, world junior champion Kipyegon Bett and United States-based Michael Saruni and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich are the other two-lap athletes named in the preliminary team.
Rudisha and Rotich had wild cards to the 16th edition of the global event but the AK boss insisted the federation reserves the right to decide the final squad.
With the top two across the line assured of automatic entries as per the rules of the AK Trials, Rotich and Saruni (who finished third) will be vying for the remaining slot in the team following Mutwii’s announcement on Rudisha.
Rudisha will be returning to the stadium where he won his first Olympic gold medal in the blistering 1:40.91 minute world record at the London 2012 Games. Enditem