Kenya pushed back the selection of its final athletics team for the World Championships set for Doha, Qatar, in October.
Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack Tuwei said on Wednesday that the decision had been adopted to accommodate elite runners who will be pursuing the lucrative Diamond League jackpot in Zurich and Brussels.
The new dates for the national trials will be on September 12-13. Kenya intends to select 70 athletes for the global championships.
“The event has been slotted on this date due to several requests from athletes who will be participating in various Diamond Leagues,” said Tuwei.
However, the country will select its 10,000m team this month to give them enough time to recover. It will also enable athletes targeting to double in 5,000m and 10,000m to do so without much pressure.
“Athletics Kenya has taken these requests into consideration and will therefore hold this event in September to give the athletes an opportunity to compete in these leagues and gain points for the finals. The event will be by invitation only,” added Tuwei.
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri has indicated her preference to double at the World Championships, hopeful to equal the record of compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea, and Tirunesh Dibaba in Beijing worlds in 2015.
The selection trials were previously scheduled to be held on August 20-22 in Nairobi.
However, with several top Kenyans chasing the lucrative Diamond League, which comes with a Diamond Trophy and 50,000 U.S. dollars to boot, AK will allow the runners compete in Birmingham, Paris, Brussels and Zurich.
“We have taken into consideration the requests of athletes who will be participating in various Diamond League events in order to give them an opportunity to compete and gain points for the finals,” the AK said in a statement.
Birmingham Diamond League which is penciled for August 18 would have been held just a day to the commencement of the trials while Paris meet scheduled for August 24 would have come two days after the conclusion of the trials.
The two Diamond League meets are crucial for athletes as they precede the two finals to slated for Zurich and Brussels on August 29 and September 6 respectively.
However, all athletes keen to represent Kenya at the World Championships must undergo three anti-doping tests in or out of competition before the trials.
They also need to have clocked the required qualifying times in their respective races or events as set by the IAAF.