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Kenya marathoners eyeing Commonwealth Games to sit out in other events

Xinhua,December 07, 2017 Adjust font size:

NAIROBI, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Marathon athletes wishing to represent Kenya in Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April will not be allowed to sign contracts to run in other competition in the build up to the event, officials said on Thursday.

Jackson Tuwei, Athletics Kenya (AK) president, ruled out athletes taking on other engagements ahead of the biggest competition in the year saying he wants them 'fresh and active' for the Club games.

"Athletes must be cautious not to enter into any agreement or contract with any race organizers before notifying AK. We need not to burn out our athletes. Kenya will take the Commonwealth Games seriously and we need our best athletes," said Tuwei.

Kenya's performance at the Commonwealth Games has been impressive compared to other African states, but Tuwei is optimistic they will do better in Gold Coast.

Kenya collected 25 medals - 10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze -- in the last games in Glasgow with most of the medals falling in from track and field. There was also one bronze from boxing and the others in Paralympics.

The country finished fifth from in Delhi, India in 2010 with 12 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze medals.

Kenya's athletics team has changed its dates for selection. The Commonwealth Games trials have been pushed forward from March to February 16 2018 in Nairobi. However, Kenya will name its commonwealth Games marathon team earlier in January.

"This is critical because we want them to know who will be running and start preparing in advance. We will not allow them to run other marathons after naming the team," said Tuwei.

Tuwei said that it was not possible to name the team in early November as earlier planned because AK wanted to give athletes time to negotiate their management contracts with other race organizers.

Kenya's head of delegation to the Commonwealth Games Barnaba Korir has presented a budget worth 4.5 million US dollars for a contingent of 350. Four years ago in Glasgow, Kenya spend 3.8 dollars for a team of 306 people.

"We hope the government will respond on time since we need to prepare the teams well," said Korir. However, the officials warned athletes to be cautious of taking banned drugs even if they are sick.

"They must seek treatment from registered doctors and ask for exemption early enough," said Tuwei.

"We cannot afford to lose more athletes confused by their managers to worsen things for us with WADA. When an athlete fails their doping test, we shall all suffer the consequences even though the country was declared compliant," he added. Enditem