Kenyan Gold Medalists Joining Olympic Squad

Marathon world-record holder Patrick Makau was also assured a team berth.

Marathon world-record holder Patrick Makau was also assured a team berth.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Patrick Makau on his way to winning the 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon. photo: courtesy of the BMW Berlin Marathon

Athletics Kenya announced earlier yesterday that all Kenyan gold medalists from the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, Korea, last month would be selected to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.  The federation also said that newly-crowned BMW Berlin Marathon champion Patrick Makau, who broke Haile Gebrselassie’s world record there, was also assured of a team berth as a “wild card” selection.

The story was first reported by THE NATION newspaper and independently confirmed by two sources who contacted Race Results Weekly today, including one athlete agent and a race organizer who is traveling in Kenya.

As such, the following team spots are already taken by these world champions:

800m: David Rudisha
1500m: Asbel Kiprop (defending Olympic champion)
3000m S/C: Ezekiel Kemboi
Marathon: Abel Kirui, Patrick Makau (wild card selection)

5000m/10,000m: Vivian Cheruiyot
Marathon: Edna Kiplagat

Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat defended his decision to name Makau to the team.  “Makau’s feat is a reason enough to have him in the team while the fire from Daegu must at all cost be upheld towards the London Games,” he told THE NATION.

Today’s surprise announcement will surely produce some backlash.  Kenya has never selected their athletes so far in advance, and the country always holds an Olympic Trials in Nairobi in advance of the Games.

But Makau was delighted with his selection, and said he did not plan to run another marathon until the London Olympics.

“I want to repay the gesture by dedicating my preparations for London by participating in selected races,” he told THE NATION. “I pray to God for good health.”