In a big boost to upcoming Delhi Commonwealth Games, middle distance running powerhouse Kenya are sending a strong athletics team which will be led by men’s 800m world record holder David Rudisha and Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Jebet Lagat.
Rudisha, who smashed the 13-year-old world 800m record with a new time of one minute 41.09 seconds at the Berlin leg of Diamond League last week, and Lagat will earn direct entry to the Kenyan athletics team without taking part in the Saturday’s national trials.
Lagat had become the first Kenyan athlete to secure a Diamond League title in the London leg on August 13.
World 3000m steeplechase and 5000 champions Ezekiel Kemboi and Vivian Cheruiyot are expected to get direct entry in the Commonwealth Games team, the report said.
Other athletes considered for the Commonwealth Games are those who already are in Africa’s team for the VTB Continental Cup, formerly World Cup of Athletics, to be held on September 4 and 5 in Split, Croatia. Top leading athletes of the season from four continental groupings — Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe and Africa — will take part in the Croatia event. Most of the Commonwealth Games bound athletes are also taking part in Brussels Diamond League event on August 27, the final leg of the inaugural 14-meet Diamond League series.
Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said his country wants to send the strongest athletics team in the Games. “We want to ensure we do not falter at the Commonwealth Games. Most athletes including David Rudisha have confirmed they will take part and collect medals in India,” he said.
“This year has been good for athletics with our teams excelling at World Cross, World Juniors, African Championships and Youth Olympics Games and we want to continue that,” Kiplagat said.
Semenya named in South Africa squad
Johannesburg: Caster Semenya, the women’s 800 metres world champion, was named in South Africa’s Commonwealth Games.
Semenya has made just three competitive appearances since being cleared to race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after a series of gender verification tests. The 19-year-old has won each of her comeback races, although her best time — one minute, 59.90 seconds at a World Challenge event in Berlin — was still short of her 1:55.45 at the world championships.