Kenyan athletes threaten Olympics trials boycott over stadium dilemma

© Athletics Kenya

Kenyan athletes threaten Olympics trials boycott over stadium dilemma

Joel Omotto 10:10 - 24.05.2024

Kenyan athletes have vowed to snub the Olympics trials if the event is not held at a venue certified by World Athletics in the wake of Nyayo and Kasarani stadium closure.

Kenyan athletes have threatened to boycott the upcoming Olympics trials if the event is not held at a World Athletics-certified venue.

Athletics Kenya (AK) is faced with a challenge of where to host the Olympics trials, slated from June 14-15, since Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums, the only two World Athletics-accredited venues in the country, are currently closed for renovation.

While AK president Jack Tuwei has promised athletes that efforts are being put in place to have the trials conducted at a certified venue, athletes have vowed not to attend if that is not the case.

“Even though I have attained the Paris Olympics standards, I will not attend in solidarity with those who would like to strive and get the standard at the trials,” an athlete, who sought anonymity, told Nation.

“These are sentiments shared by all the athletes because they have missed a great opportunity to qualify for Paris Olympics with the National Athletics Championships being held at Ulinzi Complex.”

The bone of contention is that AK was planning to host the trials at the Ulinzi Complex whose track is not certified by World Athletics.

That means any times recorded at the event would not count as Olympic qualifying standards, denying athletes who have not already attained the required marks, an opportunity to qualify for the Paris Games.

It would therefore force then to seek qualification elsewhere when the deadline for Olympic qualification is June 30.

Sprinters, such as Mark Otieno, are among the most hit as so far given only Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala (100m), Zablon Ekwam (400m) and Wiseman Were (400m hurdles) have attained the Olympic qualifying marks.

The athletes have expressed a preference for Nyayo Stadium to host the trials given it is where Ekwam and Were attained the Olympics qualifying standard during the Kip Keino Classic last month.

Kenya’s 10,000m runners have already sought refuge outside the country and are set to seek the qualifying standards at this weekend’s Prefontaine Classic, the Eugene Diamond League.

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