Kirwa expects more athletes to seal Olympic slots at pre-trials
National athletics coach Julius Kirwa is optimistic more athletics will secure Olympic qualification when Athletics Kenya (AK) holds a three-day Olympics pre-trials at the Nyayo Stadium.
The veteran coach revealed that some 91 track and field athletes have thus far hit the Olympic qualifying standards with less than two months until the start of the Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The event that kicks off on Thursday was initially planned as trials for the Africa Senior Championships that were set to be held in Algeria and is currently hanging in the balance having been postponed twice before Nigeria were announced as the new hosts on Tuesday.
Kirwa said the competition will present an opportunity to athletes who have not attained the Olympic qualification times ahead of the main trial penciled for June 17-19.
“So far we have 91 athletes who have already attained qualifications for the Olympics and since the window for qualification is still open until June 29 we still expect to have more athletes secure slots. I want to urge all those athletes who have not secured qualification to use this opportunity,” said Kirwa.
At the same time, Kirwa said the invite-only event will also provide an opportunity for coaches to assess fitness levels of athletes some of whom have not competed for long owing to the pandemic.
“With limited competitions abroad, most of our athletes have not gauged themselves for long period and this will also give an opportunity to us (coaches) to find out where we are before the main trials”, he said.
Kirwa disclosed that only athletes that have attained Olympic qualifying times will compete at the main trials with the top three athletes set to earn direct tickets at the Games set for July 23- August 8.
Similarly, athletes who will fly Kenyan flag in Tokyo should have undergone the mandatory three doping tests in order to be allowed to compete at the Games.
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