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Athletics Kenya eyes strong Commonwealth line-up

30 January 2014, 12:53

Nairobi - Despite the intention of some top runners to skip the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Athletics Kenya (AK) is keen on sending a potent line-up to retain the sport 's place as the medal breadbasket for the nation.

Recent reports have seen a number of top athletes distance themselves from the Jul. 23 to Aug. 3 event in Glasgow, among them defending women steeplechase titleholder and world champion, Milcah Chemos.

With the Commonwealth boycott choruses growing last weekend during the star-laden local Discovery Cross Country meeting in Eldoret, federation boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, has come out to assure the nation they will not send an under-strength line-up.

"In the past, we have had big names saying they will not compete at the Commonwealth Games but that is nothing to worry about. We have many athletes who realise competing for their nation is the best thing that can happen to their career," Kiplagat said.

"In India, the team brought home the most medals ever and we have started preparations to ensure that is repeated in Glasgow."

He added: " We have been having regular meetings with the National Olympics Committee who have given us funds to prepare the team."

In Delhi, India four years ago, Kenya topped the athletics charts with 29 medals, 11 gold, 10 silver and eight bronze, ahead of Australia (20, 6, 3) and Britain (7, 9, 10) who sealed the top three.

Beijing Olympics gold medallist, Nancy Jebet Langat, became the first Kenyan in history to complete the double at the Commonwealth when she won the 800m and 1500m races.

The AK chief stated forthcoming events such as the IAAF Relay World Cup, IAAF World Juniors and Africa Senior Championships would be used to identify possible members of the Scotland Games.

"We have a busy 2014 and our main target will be to remain competitive since there are many nations out there who want to take our place. We cannot afford to relax," the chair stressed.

Commonwealth men 1,500m champion, Silas Kiplagat and the men marathon titleholder, John Ekilu Kelai, are among those who have bucked the trend by declaring their interest in defending their crowns in Scotland.

- Xinhua


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