Athletics Kenya (AK) have confirmed that Kenyan superstar athlete *David Lekuta Rudisha will defend his men’s 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in London from 4-13 August, 2017.
The announcement ended intense speculation in local media that the two-time Olympic and world record-holder at distance would not make the final squad for the global track and field signature event.
“It is no-brainer. He is the world record holder, world champion and big time performer at big championships. He has to be in team,” AK vice-president, Paul Mutwii told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.
AK announced the final squad on Friday at which the omission of US based Michael Saruni – one of the five athletes named into the 49-member provisional squad in the men’s 800m with only four eligible to be entered into the competition – caused a huge stir.
US-based Emmanuel Korir, who caused a major upset to win the men’s 800m in 1:43.86 at the Kenya trials, World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett, 2nd in 1:44.04; and Saruni, third in 1:44.61; and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich were all named in the preliminary team.
*David Rudisha opted out of the Kenyan selection trials for London 2017 on 24 June to focus on regaining his shape after an underwhelming season, and initially, his name was missing from the provisional team.
However, he was included in the squad after reports he was missing from the team circulated on social media drawing a huge backlash on the AK.
Rudisha and Rotich had wild cards to the 16th edition of the global event but the Athletics Kenya boss insisted the federation reserves the right to decide the final squad.
With the top two across the line assured of automatic entries as per the rules of the AK Trials, Saruni and Rotich, who finished in fourth place, were contending for the final slot in the team following Mutwii’s announcement on Rudisha.
Rudisha will be returning to the stadium where he won his first Olympic gold medal in the blistering 1:40.91 world record at the London 2012 Games.
* UPDATED: David Rudisha has now pulled out of the IAAF World Championships in London due to a quadriceps injury.
TEAM KENYA – LONDON 2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Men 400m Hurdles: Haron Koech, Kiprono Kosgei, Nicholas Bett
Women 10,000m: Agnes Tirop, Irene Cheptai, Alice Aprot
Men 200m: Mark Otieno
Women 5000m: Hellen Obiri, Margaret Chelimo
Men 5000m: Cyrus Ruto, David Kiplagat
Women 400m: Maximilla Imali
Men 400m: Raymond Kibet, Alphas Kishioyan, Collins Omae
Men Javelin: Julius Yego
Men 1500m: Ronald Kwemoi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi, Asbel Kiprop
Women 1500m: Faith Chepn’getich, Winnie Chebet
Women 3000m steeplechase: Cellphine Chepsol, Beatrice Chepkoech, Purity Kirui, Hyvin Kiyeng
Men 3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto, Birmin Kipruto, Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi
Women 800m: Margaret Nyairera, Eunice Sum, Emily Cherotich
Men 800m: Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett,
Michael Saruni, Ferguson Rotich, David Rudisha
Men triple jump: Elijah Kimitei
Men walk race: Samuel Gathimba, Simon Wachira
Women race walk: Grace Wanjiru
Men Marathon: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer
Women marathon: Edna Kiplagat, Helah Kiprop, Flomena Cheyech