Justin Lagat did this week’s piece as a preview on the Kenyan Trials and some of the challenges that Athletics Kenya faces in 2021.
Four things of great interest during the Kenyan Olympic Trials this week.
At the end of this week, from 17th to 19th June, Athletics Kenya will be selecting the national team to represent Kenya at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The first two to cross the finish line will get automatic qualifications while a third athlete will be picked by a panel of selectors.
In the past, the Kenyan Olympic trials have at times been termed as “mini-Olympics” given that the rest of the runners in the world, especially in the distance events, will be watching with great interest to know who their main rivals will be at the Games.
Will new upcoming stars bring in more hopes for Olympic medals?
In those events that Kenyans see a lot of hope in getting medals, like in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, fans will be hoping to see the big stars finishing in the top three positions at the trials. For the events that Kenyans see lesser hopes in clinching the medals, then it will remain debatable whether it will better to see new stars emerging victorious at the trials and bringing new hopes ahead of the Olympic Games, or whether it would be better to have the experienced past champions still making the team.
Will any runners double?
There are runners like Edward Cheserek, Hellen Obiri, and Agnes Tirop, among others whose names appear in more than one event. Obiri had already made her intentions known that she wanted to double in the 10,000m and 5,000m, but given the level of competition at the Kenyan trials and the current form of her rivals across the world, this remains to be seen.
Who will get the wild cards?
Kenyan trials are always tough and major upsets often happen. It will be interesting to see how the panel of selectors will use their discretion to ensure that a formidable team is sent to the Olympics.
Will Athletics Kenya change their stand on former dopers?
Ferdinand Omanyala has been invited to run in the men’s 100m, a distance in which he holds the national record of 10.01. If he wins and gets named in the team, will this force Athletics Kenya to take back their resolve to never ever allow any athlete who has ever been implicated in doping to represent the country in any world major athletic events?
Omanyala was banned for 14 months in 2017 after an adverse analytical finding of glucocorticoid betamethasone.