Injured Mucheru, Saina to miss Worlds trials

Sunday June 18 2017

Dominican Republic’s former World and Olympic hurdles champion Felix Sanchez (left) offers tips on hurdling techniques to Olympic silver medallist Boniface Mucheru (right) and Haron Koech during a training session at Kasarani on January 24, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Dominican Republic’s former World and Olympic hurdles champion Felix Sanchez (left) offers tips on hurdling techniques to Olympic silver medallist Boniface Mucheru (right) and Haron Koech during a training session at Kasarani on January 24, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru and 10,000m athlete Betsy Saina won’t take part in World Championships trials starting Friday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Mucheru, the Africa 400m hurdles champion, said he is yet to recover from some painful legs while Saina, who represented Kenya at the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, is battling a nagging Achilles injury.

Mucheru has since appealed Athletics Kenya to allow sprinters more time to qualify even after the trials, what with only World 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett being the only qualifier over the distance by virtue of his status.

Mucheru, Bett’s brother Haron Koech and other probables in 400m hurdles have not attained the World Championships qualifying time of 49.35 seconds.

“I have been feeling pain deep inside the bones in both of my legs and the doctor hinted that it stems from the spikes I have been using since 2014,” said Mucheru, “I have at least two more weeks to full recovery hence not possible to compete at the trials.”

Bett, Koech and Mucheru held their pre-season training in Kenya before moving to Dominican Republic under two times Olympic 400m hurdles champion Felix Sanchez.

They later shifted their base to Finland. Bett and Mucheru opened their season in Doha where they finished fourth and seventh in 49.70 and 50.61 respectively.

Bett moved to Shanghai with Koech but they didn’t perform well, finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

AK intends to immediately enter Team Kenya for the World Championships after the trials, but the qualification period ends on midnight of July 23.

The qualification period for 10,000m, marathon, race walks, relays and decathlon/heptathlon started on January 1 last year until midnight on July 23 this year (regardless of the time zone) while the qualification period for all other events began on October 1 last year and ends at midnight on July 23.

Bett strengthened Mucheru’s appeal, saying Kenya’s dream of fielding at least four athletes in men’s 400m hurdles at the London World Championships is still valid but only if AK puts their appeal into consideration.

“If there are qualifiers at the trials, I would urge AK to let other probable athletes qualify from other races so long as they beat the deadline,” said Bett, whose brother Koech has two races to run - on July 1 in Germany and July 10 in USA.

Koech has competed in several races in Europe but his season best of 50.81 came from Rehlingen, Germany on June 5.

Bett is also recovering from a calf muscle strain he sustained from Shanghai to see him withdraw from Oslo and Stockholm legs of the Diamond League.

Maureen Jelagat, who has represented Kenya in 400m at the 2013 Moscow and 2015 Beijing World Championships and 400m hurdles at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, has entered both 400m and 400m hurdles. No woman has qualified for the Worlds in 400m hurdles.