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Kenya to send 5 teams to athletics world relay championships

21 January 2014, 15:11

Nairobi - Kenya intends to field teams in all five events at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas in May.

The relay disciplines being contested in the capital of Bahamas on May 24 to 25 are the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m.

"We are very determined to do well in the categories we have entered for," Athletics Kenya vice president David Okeyo said in Nairobi on Monday.

"We hope to constitute a strong team that will make the rest of the world feel our presence in the short distance competitions this time round."

A series of qualification meetings will be held around Kenya between March and April with an official trial event being held in Nairobi on April 26.

"We want to show the world that Kenyans are not only a force in the middle and long distance but also relays competitions," said Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat.

Kenya holds the world record for the men's 4x800m at 7:02.43, set in Brussels in 2006, and the 4x1500m at 14:36.23, set in 2009 also in Brussels.

Meanwhile, athletes are spoilt for choice on which events to compete in during a year that does not have the World Championships or the Olympic Games.

With Only the continental Cup in Athletics and the Commonwealth Games lined up, elite runners can choose either of the two events to compete in.

Okeyo said Kenya will name two teams to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland in July and the Africa senior Athletics Championships in Rabat, Morocco also at the same time.

"The two events follow each other closely. But for you to qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup, one must compete in the Africa Athletics championships. The city of Marrakech, which has replaced Rabat and will be hosting the continental event where the top two athletes qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup," said Okeyo.

Whereas, there are no monetary gains in running at the Commonwealth Games, elite runners might be swayed to head to Marrakech for the IAAF event.

The IAAF Continental Cup will be marking its fifth edition after its inaugural event in Johannesburg in 1998, Madrid (2002), Athens (2006) and Split City Croatia (2010).

Meanwhile, Okeyo confirmed that the deadline for the teams to put in their entry lists for the Africa Cross Country Championships will expire on Jan. 31.

Okeyo said all the 53 countries and regions are expected to send at least two athletes with the bigwigs -- Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa expected to field a full team of 16 athletes.

Kampala in Uganda will host the third edition of the event after the two inaugural editions in Cape Town, South Africa where Kenya ruled the roost on both occasions.

- Xinhua


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