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Kenya to hold 2016 Olympic marathon trials

16 October 2015, 08:12

Nairobi - Kenya will hold trials to pick the 2016 Olympic Games marathon teams next February in a bid to improve the country's performance in Rio de Janeiro, officials said Thursday.

The top three athletes in both the men's and women's races will be selected, and will not be allowed to compete in any international marathon events ahead of the games.

"This is a new policy, that the best way to select the marathon team is to hold a national trial early enough for Rio.

"The selected athletes must run their last marathon events in February," Athletics Kenya (AK) director of competitions David Okeyo told reporters.

"We saw the results in the 2012 London Olympics, and both the 2013 and 2015 world championships in Moscow and Beijing - which were not very satisfactory for a nation that has dominated top marathon races in the world."

Kenya failed to win a medal in the men's marathon at the Beijing world championships in August, as the pre-race favourites, world-record holder Dennis Kimetto and his compatriot Wilson Kipsang, pulled out.

The third Kenya runner, Mark Korir, the Paris marathon reigning champion, finished a poor 22nd in the blistering Beijing heat.

Helah Kiprop won Kenya's only medal when she finished second in the women's race behind Mare Dibaba, who sprinted away at the finish line to clinch Ethiopia's first female world marathon title.

The women's and men's marathon competitions at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will take place on August 14 and 21 respectively.

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