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African sprinters to compete in Kenya relay championships

David Rudisha Nairobi, March 4 (IANS) Kenya has invited sprinters from South Africa, Nigeria and Botswana to compete in the final two relay meetin ...

David Rudisha

Nairobi, March 4 (IANS)

Kenya has invited sprinters from South Africa, Nigeria and Botswana to compete in the final two relay meetings here to inspire the local team to clock required qualification marks for the World Relay Championships in May. Athletics Kenya (AK) said on Tuesday the country is yet to secure qualification for the 4x400m and 4x200m distances ahead of the May 2-3 World Relay Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, reports Xinhua.

"We want quality competition, and for our athletes to be able to secure the required qualification, they have to be pushed," AK vice president David Okeyo said.

International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) demands that the results of relay races shall be valid only on condition that they are part of a competition staged in compliance with IAAF rules. Moreover, IAAF wants at least two different international teams, representing at least two countries, compete in the race.

Kenya targets to get the qualification mark in Nairobi and then head to Nassau hoping to finish among the top eight countries in either races so as to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing in August. Kenya has two meetings in Nairobi on March 14 and 21 before the national trials on April 1 where a team of sprinters will be picked for the second IAAF World Relays set for Nassau, Bahamas on May 2-3.

Last year, the Kenyan team broke world records in 4x1500m men's and women's races. Okeyo said they are keen to repeat the same in 2015.

World 800 m record holder David Rudisha and world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop are expected to anchor the men charges.

Rudisha, who won silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, last year, will meet 2007 world 800m champion Alfred Kirwa Yego and Commonwealth Games 800m bronze medallist Abraham Kiplagat.

But Kiprop, who could not attain his bid to break the metric mile race world record at the Diamond League meet in Monaco in July last year, would be out to signal his ambitions for the season.

The 26-year-old Kiprop will go head to head with Nixon Chepseba, two-time world indoor silver medallist Daniel Kipchirchir and 4×1500m relay champion James Magut.

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