Athletics Kenya has scrapped plans to host an Olympic marathon trials to select the six marathoners who would compete at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, reports Kenyan journalist Katami Michelle.
The federation will resort back to its subjective selection committee that has previously determined the national team based off performances at World Major Marathons and other large-scale marathons in Rotterdam, Paris and Rome. Athletics Kenya says the national team will be announced on May 1.
The initial plans, announced on Oct. 15, called for a Feb. 14 race that would take the top three men’s and women’s finishers as members of the Kenyan Olympic team. No course was announced for the race.
Athletics Kenya is looking to avoid another disappointing finish at a global championship after Mark Korir was the lone Kenyan to finish the 2015 IAAF World Championship marathon in Beijing this August. World record holder Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang dropped out. No Kenyan man has medaled at the IAAF World Championships since 2011.
Kenyan women have seen some success at the global championships, as Helah Kiprop took silver for the marathon in August. Edna Kiplagat won gold at the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships. A Kenyan woman has never won gold at the Olympics.
The late Sammy Wanjiru, who died in 2011 after falling from a balcony, is Kenya's only gold medalist in the marathon with his Olympic record 2:06:32 victory at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kenya took silver and bronze as Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang finished second and third respectively behind Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich.
The women’s marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will take place Sunday morning, Aug. 14, 2016. The men’s marathon is scheduled for one week later, on Sunday morning, Aug. 21, 2016.
- Christopher Chavez