12 JUN 2012 General News Nairobi, Kenya

Mutai added to Kenyan Olympic Marathon squad, Rudisha to Relay

All alone - Emmanuel Mutai dominates and dazzles with a 2:04:40 race record in London (Getty Images)All alone - Emmanuel Mutai dominates and dazzles with a 2:04:40 race record in London (Getty Images) © Copyright
Daegu World silver medallist and 2011 London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai has replaced Chicago course record holder Moses Mosop on the Kenyan team for Olympics, Athletics Kenya confirmed on Tuesday (12).

At the same time, the federation announced World 800m men record holder and World champion David Rudisha as well as women 5000m and 10,000m Daegu gold medallist Vivian Cheruiyot are in line to double at the Olympics, with the former being included in the country’s 4X400m Relay team.

"Mosop injured his tendon and we received a letter from him and his doctors that he could not compete in London," Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said. "We have brought in Emmanuel and although we are sorry for Mosop missing London, any runner we have is as good as any other."

"Emmanuel helped Abel (Kirui) win the World title in Berlin and he was in our original list we had pre-selected for the Olympics and that is why we have him in the team."

Paris Marathon champion Stanley Biwott is on the stand-by list as the federation ruled out considering either World record holder Patrick Makau or Geoffrey Mutai who won both Boston and New York marathons last year.

"We asked their agents to give us a report why they dropped out of the London and Boston races and we are yet to receive any from Makau or Mutai. We will still continue pressing for the report but we have looked outside the pre-selected list to name Biwott as the standby in case anything happens," Kiplagat, also a Member of the IAAF Council, said.

London will be the second outing for Mutai, the World Marathon Majors winner, after he braved illness at the Berlin Worlds to follow Kirui, to the tape in 2:06:53 for silver in 2009.

Having set the London course record of 2:04:40 last year, Mutai fell short of retaining his title in April, finishing seventh in 2:08:01. The 27-year-old clinched the Majors by finishing second at New York last fall in 2:06:28 behind his namesake Geoffrey having been a runner-up in London the year before.

Cheruiyot eying London double

While confirming the women 10,000m Olympics Trial would be held on Saturday (16) on the final day of the National Championships that start on Thursday (14), Kiplagat added that Cheruiyot, who clinched the long distance double in Daegu, would go for both races in London.

"Yes, she has told us she is interested in competing at both Trials and the one week period we have between the Championships and the Olympics Trial is enough to rest.

"Others like Linet Masai and Sally Kipyego have also stated they will go for both races," Kiplagat expressed.

Masai is the 2009 Worlds titleholder in 10,000m and won bronze in Daegu while Kipyego nicked silver in the 25-lap race in South Korea.

Rudisha for relay duty

The federation is planning to request Rudisha, who has made his desire to be part of the 4X400m team, to travel for the Benin Africa Championships to compete in the relay competition.

"We have three 400 metre runners who have qualified for London and Rudisha who is willing to run in the 4X400m and we would wish to go to Benin and retain our world ranking in the event so that our place in London can be confirmed."

"Countries like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have strong relay teams and our aim is to maintain our number eight position in the 4X400m relay," the chairman added.

The Nationals have been shifted from Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium to the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani that is located 8km in the outskirts of the capital.

"Athletes asked us to change the venue since the track at Kasarani is softer and we accepted but the Trials will remain at Nyayo on 23 June," Kiplagat stated.

During the Nationals, qualifying rounds for middle distance races to 5000m as well as the 3000m steeple will be held before to get the qualifiers for the semis that will be held on June 21, two days before the Olympics Trials.

"We shall only have straight finals during the Trials that is why we have given athletes two days to recover before competing for London tickets," Kiplagat elaborated.

Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF