Kenya to allow athletes to compete abroad prior to Olympics
Nairobi, June 13 (IANS) Athletics Kenya (AK) will not deny elite athletes named in both the Olympics and Africa team a chance to compete at the Samsung Diamond League races in Europe prior to the London Games.
AK also clarified Wednesday that athletes keen to double up in both Olympics and Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Porto Nova, Benin (June 26-July 1) are free to do so.
Three meetings in Paris, Monaco and London are all lined up prior to the games, and the withdrawal of Kenyan stars will water down the level of competition in the premier IAAF track and field competition, reported Xinhua.
"We cannot rule out some of the athletes competing in the three legs of the Diamond League prior to the Olympics. It might be part of their build up or they are honouring contracts signed before."
"But the permission will not be coming from us, but from the Kenya team management committee and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya. They are the one handling the team, ours is to select and hand them to the government. From there, we are only left with the task of advising," said Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat.
Already Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo is set to run in Paris July 6 (London will be on July 13-14 and Monaco July 20).
However, Jelimo will be watching out on the number of races she will compete in to avoid burning out after honouring meetings in Doha, Ostrava and Rome all in May.
"The focus is on the Olympics. Therefore running in any other competition is secondary. My priority is to successfully defend my title and from the build up, it will be hard because here are Ethiopian lady, Russia and South Africa all eying the gold," said Jelimo Wednesday in Nairobi.
Several Kenyan runners are in hunt for the lucrative Diamond League Trophy, awarded to the athlete who has shown consistence over the 14-leg championships including competing at the finals in either Brussels or Zurich in September.
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