Athletes chase World Relays slots in Iten

Athletes who post the fastest times from the semi-finals will qualify directly for World Relay championships during National Relays Championships planned for Saturday at Lorna Kiplagat Stadium in Iten.

Athletics Kenya senior vice president Paul Mutwii on Wednesday disclosed that selectors will pick four athletes to compete in each of the six fields of competition that will be on cards at the World Championships slated for May 11-12 in Yokohama, Japan.

Like at the just-ended AK Relay Series, there will be four straight races on the cards during National Relays Championships in Iten; men and women’s 100 metres and 200m races that will have three heats each, as well as men and women’s 400m contest that will have four heats each.

While the women’s 100m hurdles will have a straight final, men’s 110 hurdles race will have two heats.

At the same time, men and women’s 800m races will go straight to the finals.

Mutwii yesterday indicated that athletes competing in the hurdles and 800 metres races will be competing for places to represent Kenya in two events that have been added to the World Relays programme – the mixed shuttle hurdles relay, and 2x2x400m relay.

The new events join the men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m.

“Let athletes be informed that we shall name the 2x2x400m relay team from men and women’s 800m finals because of the endurance needs of the race,” said Mutwii. “Time will count, especially in the flat races, starting from the semi-finals.”

Mutwii explained that athletes competing in flat races will then form teams for the relays across all the events.

Mutwii noted that participation in the national trials is strictly by invitation and advised athletes to ready themselves for a six-lane track in Iten away from the usual eight-lane tracks.

Meanwhile, preparations for the national trials, to be held outside Nairobi for the first time, are complete.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Athletics Kenya chairman, Pius Kiplagat, on Wednesday disclosed that teams are expected to arrive in Iten on Friday.

“It will be exciting to host Kenyan world-beaters in our region for the first time. Iten is ready to welcome the athletes and coaches for the big day,” said Kiplagat.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Public Relations Officer Boniface Tiren noted that everyone will be keen to see how athletes handle the newly-introduced shuttle hurdle relay that promises to offer new challenge to athletes.

“We urge everyone to come and cheer the athletes and make the event a success,” said Tiren. Eldoret hosted the National Cross Country Championships in February, the event that was used to select Team Kenya for the World Cross Country Championships.

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