Athletics Kenya Narrows Down Olympic Selection To Ten Athletes

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The Kenyan Athletics Federation has announced a provisional Olympic Marathon Team.

The list of athletes includes ten men and ten women, with this list being narrowed down to three competing athletes and two reserve athletes at the end of January. 

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya has the exclusive authority of selecting athletes who will represent Kenya at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. 

According to a representative from Athletics Kenya, the shortlisted athletes were selected primarily based on world ranking and performances from this year in important marathons.

kelvin kiptum crossing chicago marathon finish line
Chicago Marathon 2023

Paul Mutwii of Athletics Kenya told the Daily Nation about other factors that were considered when selecting the shortlisted athletes. 

“We also considered consistency, anti-doping requirements, discipline, willingness, and championship mentality and attitude of the athletes.”

Mutwii also spoke about athletes’ abilities to compete without pacesetters, which are allowed in most major marathons but not in the Olympic marathon.

“There are those athletes who do well with pacesetters and those who don’t. We have taken that into consideration, too.”

Kelvin Kiptum at the 2023 Chicago Marathon setting the world record in a time of 2:00:35
Photo Credit: Paul Veal

Headlining the selection on the men’s is current world record holder Kelvin Kiptum.

Kiptum set a new marathon world record after running 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, only his third marathon ever. 

Kiptum has run two previous marathons before setting his world record. He debuted at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, where he set a new course record of 2:01:53, which was also the fourth-fastest marathon ever run at the time.

Following his success at Valencia, Kiptum toed the line at the 2023 London Marathon, his first World Marathon Major. He set a new course record after running 2:01:25.

Eliud Kipchoge running the 2022 Berlin Marathon
Photo Caption: Joschua Licheres

Another top name among the 10 Kenyan men named to the Olympic team shortlist is former world record holder Eliud Kipchoge

Alongside being the former world record holder, Kipchoge is the two-time reigning Olympic champion from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Before Kiptum’s recent world record at the Chicago Marathon, Kipchoge held the marathon world record when he ran 2:01:09 at the 2022 Berlin Marathon. 

This year, Kipchoge’s fastest marathon time was at the Berlin Marathon, where he won for a historic fifth time after crossing the line in 2:02:42.

2018 London Marathon
Photo Caption: Paul Hudson

One of the top names in the women’s selection is Ruth Chepngetich. The 29-year-old boasts a marathon personal best of 2:14:18, which she achieved when she won the 2022 Chicago Marathon for the second time in a row.

This season, Chepngetich only competed in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan, where she took home gold with a time of 2:18:08.

Two-time World Marathon Major champion Hellen Obiri is also among the names on the provisional list. 

Athletics Kenya Narrows Down Olympic Selection To Ten Athletes 1

Obiri took both the New York City and the Boston Marathon titles this year, running 2:27:23 and 2:21:38 (personal best).

Obiri has been making the move over from track racing to the road marathon with great success. She is a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000m from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Finally, the list wouldn’t be complete without reigning Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir.

Jepchirchir also won the 2021 New York City Marathon and the 2022 Boston Marathon. The reigning Olympic champion placed third in this year’s London Marathon after running 2:18:28.

Jepchirchir missed out on her fall campaign at the New York City Marathon due to a last-minute injury but still remains confident she will be selected for the Kenyan Olympic marathon team.

Athletics Kenya Narrows Down Olympic Selection To Ten Athletes 2
2023 TCS London Marathon – Elite women race – Peres Jepchirchir (63) and Shelia Chepkirui (80) leading the race with Alemu Megertu (69), Genzebe Dibaba (66), Yalemzerf Yehualaw (61), Judith Jeptum Korir (68), and Almaz Ayana (64) between mile 16 and 17.

One surprising name left out of the provisional list of twenty athletes named was Evans Chebet.

Chebet won back-to-back Boston Marathons at the 2023 and 2022 editions, running 2:05:54 and 2:06:51, respectively. Chebet also won the 2022 New York City Marathon after running a time of 2:08:41.

Chebet boasts a personal best in the marathon of 2:03:00, which he achieved at the 2020 Valencia Marathon.

We are one step closer to discovering which athletes will make up one of the historically strongest Olympic marathon teams.

Athletics Kenya Narrows Down Olympic Selection To Ten Athletes 3

Team Kenya Provisional Men’s List

  1. Eliud Kipchoge
  2. Kelvin Kiptum
  3. Vincent Ngetich
  4. Timothy Kiplagat
  5. Benson Kipruto
  6. Bernard Koech
  7. Geoffrey Kamworor
  8. Cyprian Kotut
  9. Amos Kipruto
  10. Titus Kipruto

Team Kenya Provisional Women’s List

  1. Ruth Chepngetich
  2. Rosemary Wanjiru
  3. Joycilline Jepkosgei
  4. Sheila Chepkirui
  5. Peres Jepchirchir
  6. Judith Jeptum Korir
  7. Selly Chepyego
  8. Hellen Obiri
  9. Sharon Lokedi
  10. Brigid Kosgei

Who do you think will make the final cut? Are there any athletes you were surprised did not make the shortlist?

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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