Kenya to hold Olympic distance trials in US
Athletics Kenya confirmed on Thursday they will hold the men’s and women’s 5000m and 10000m team selections for the 2012 London Olympics at the Prefontaine Classic in the US in June.
Kenya have not won an Olympic distance title since Naftali Temu took the men’s 10 000m gold at the 1968 Mexico Games and Ethiopians have dominated since 1993.
Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said the decision to hold the team trials in Eugene, Oregon on June 1 was to allow the athletes compete at sea level to replicate the conditions in London.
"We are looking at selecting the best team to represent Kenya in London. And holding the trials at Oregon should be the best suitable place to select such a team," said Kiplagat.
He said the athletes to compete in Prefontaine would be identified after several mini-selection trials in Kenya starting in April.
But the decision to hold the race trials in the US, away from the traditional Nairobi setting has been criticised by former international athletes, led by the Sydney Olympic 10 000m silver medallist Paul Tergat.
"The national Olympic team and its selection should be done by Kenyans, run in Kenya and witnessed by Kenya," Tergat, who is also the five-time world cross country champion told reporters.
The Kenyan Olympic trials will be held at the Nairobi’s Nyayo National stadium on June 21-23.