Nairobi – Kenya’s athletics trials for July’s Commonwealth Games get under way on Thursday without some top stars amid uncertainty over their fitness.
Athletics Kenya warned that any athlete who skipped the three-day competition would not be granted automatic selection for the July 23 to August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Some of the athletes, including Olympic and world 1 500m champion Asbel Kiprop, will face a race against time to return home before the end of the trials on Saturday after defying orders to skip the Rome Diamond League meeting in the Italian capital on Thursday.
Kiprop and seven other runners were ordered by the Athletics Kenya to return home from the Rome meet to avoid being burned out ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The federation also expressed concern at the current form of the athletes following a string of poor results in the ongoing Diamond League series.
But world 800m record-holder David Rudisha, who finished seventh on his comeback from a long injury lay-off in Eugene, Oregon, last Saturday, is reported to have sought permission from the authorities to be away.
The 25-year-old Olympic champion opted to remain in the US to prepare for the New York Grand Prix on June 14.
“We are aware that Rudisha will not take part in the trials,” Athletics Kenya vice-president in charge of competitions, David Okeyo, told AFP.
“But the decision on whether or not he will be included in the team for the Commonwealth Games will be made later,” he added.
Rudisha, who is battling to regain race fitness after one year on the sidelines, has already made known his intention to compete in his first Commonwealth Games, after missing the 2010 championships in New Delhi.
The Kenyan trials will also be used to select a team for the African track and field championships in Morocco in September. – Sapa-AFP