Athletics Kenya (AK) will this week select Team Kenya for the 22nd African Senior Athletics Championships planned from June 24 to 28 in Lagos, Nigeria.
AK president Jack Tuwei disclosed that with no trials being held to pick the team, the selectors committee headed by coach Julius Kirwa will now pick the team based on performances from events that have been staged so far.
Tuwei singled out AK Relay Series, Track and Field weekend meeting, Diamond League, World Athletics Challenge meetings and the just ended pre-trials for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Our plate is full with no time really to conduct the trials for African event. The uncertainty that came about after the event was postponed brought all these,” said Tuwei.
The continental competition was initially planned from June 1 to 5 in Ochan, Algeria but was moved to June 24 to 28 at the same venue. It was later postponed altogether.
The national trials to pick the team for the continental event were planned from May 27 to 29 at the Nyayo National Stadium but the event was converted to Olympics pre-trials after the continental event was postponed owing to Covid-19 challenges.
Africa Cross Country Championships that were due March 6 to 7 in Lome, Togo were also called off owing to Covid-19 pandemic hiccups.
Tuwei disclosed that they would not have turned the Tokyo Olympic trials to continental trials since the new venue for the continental event was announced late.
“We didn’t want to interfere or interrupt the athletes’ thinking by introducing something else at the pre-trials,” said Tuwei, who congratulated the athletes for the good show over the three-day Olympics pre-trials that ended on Saturday.
Tuwei noted that Kenya’s pre-trials for any major championships have always produced surprises singling out Elias Ngeny, who blasted to a world lead and Olympic Games qualifying time of 1:43.84 in men’s 800m.
Tuwei also noted the good performances from newcomers -Naomi Chepng’eno from Nakuru, who won women’s 5,000m in 15:34.10, the 10,000m winner Sharon Lodeki (31:43.34), and Vincent Keter (3:38.67) from Rongai Athletics, who won the 1,500m.
“I am sure the selectors will be able to come up with a team that will compete effectively noting that the African event will come just a week after the Olympics trials at Kasarani,” said Tuwei, who is also the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) vice president.
Kenya topped the medal standings with 19 medals; 11 gold, six silver and two bronze during the 2018 African Senior Championships held at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Nigeria.
However, all the track times were not recognised by World Athletics since the new arena had not been certified.
That saw Team Kenya that won the men’s 4x400m fail to qualify for the 2019 World Championships despite attaining the standards.