Posted by: Joe English | February 5, 2008

Wanjiru’s Olympic hopes ride on London performance

SportingLife.com is reporting that Sammy Wanjiru hopes to win a spot on the Kenyan Olympic Marathon squad with his performance at the London Marathon on April 13th.

Wanjiru won his marathon debut at the Fukuoka Marathon (2:06:39) this Fall and twice set the half-marathon world record in 2007. But stats like those don’t automatically grab you a slot on the contingent representing Kenyan at the Olympic Games. Since most of the top marathoners in the world come from Kenya, picking a top three is a tough proposition.

Sammy Wanjiru Fukuoka
Wanjiru after his win in Fukuoka in 2007

Haile Gebrselassie, the world record holder, hails from Ethiopia, so he will be one elite contender that isn’t vying for one of the spots.

Kenya does not have an official trial like the United States. Instead, Kenyan athletic officials choose the team based on performances at major events around the world.

London will certainly attract some of the top Kenyans, including Wanjiru, former world record holder Paul Tergat, world champion Luke Kibet, and London/New York winner Martin Lel. American Ryan Hall and Olympic champion Stefano Baldini will also be among the athletes running in London.

Wanjiru seemed confident that London will be viewed as a good testing ground yesterday just after winning yesterday’s Granollers half marathon, saying “I look forward to competing in London since that event will act as a real Kenyan Olympic trials for Beijing.”

SportingLife also reported that David Bedford, the Flora London Marathon race director, said “one of their (Kenya’s) leading officials, David Okeyo, will be in attendance.”

The one major contender who will be absent from London is World Marathon Majors Champ Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who will instead chase a third Boston Marathon title a few days later. Cheruiyot would seem like a definite for the team if he is in good health.

For the complete article on SportingLife, click here.

Running Advice and News
http://www.running-advice.com

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