Nairobi, June 7 (IANS) In spite of reservations from elite athletes, Kenya’s Olympic officials have confirmed they will hold track and field trials for the Rio Olympic Games in Eldoret town instead of Nairobi on June 29-30.
It will be the first time in the country’s history that it will stage the crucial trials away from Nairobi ever since it started competing in the Olympics in 1956, reports Xinhua.
National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman Kipchoge Keino on Monday said the ground is suitable for the trials, where the country expects to select over 60 athletes for the games hoping they will beat the medal haul of London four years ago.
Keino said they will utilise the Moi University School of Law track, which is 7.7km away from Eldoret town as a warm-up track in the absence of one at the stadium.
“The trials will serve to select the team that will represent Kenya during the Olympic Games that will be held in Rio De Janeiro,” Keino said in Nairobi late on Monday.
“We have inspected different venues and settled for Moi University School of Law as the warm up track. We will make it convenient for athletes to arrive on time for races because we will have a police outrider in place,” he said.
Athletes had expressed doubts over the lack of a warm up track and other logistics to hold such an important event in Eldoret, which is the region where the majority of the runners come from.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jack Tuwei said they want to stage a world class event hence the pressure to make the necessary arrangements.
“It is paramount that facilities at the stadium are up to the standards so that we can get impressive results. I am happy we have agreed with the county to work together and the event will be held in Eldoret,” Tuwei said.
Kenya won only two gold medals in London in 2012, courtesy David Rudisha (800m) and Ezekiel Kemboi in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Tuwei said they hope they will be able to widen their medal scope in short distance races and field events to supplement the long distance events.