Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany lead the Kenyan team for London 2012, while the likes of Patrick Makau and Florence Kiplagat miss out
It was always going to be one of the toughest team selection decisions this Olympic year – and arguably of any Olympic year in history – but Athletics Kenya has finally reached a conclusion as to which marathon runners will represent them at the London 2012 Olympics.
London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang, Chicago Marathon winner Moses Mosop and two-time world champion Abel Kirui have all been named on the men’s team.
Meanwhile, the women’s team comprises the trio of athletes who filled the top three spots at last weekend’s London Marathon – Mary Keitany, world champion Edna Kiplagat and world silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo.
The decision was always going to be a difficult one, and whichever way it swung, quality athletes were set to miss out. Such is the strength of the men’s team, it does not feature world record-holder Patrick Makau, last year’s London Marathon winner Emmanuel Mutai, last year’s Boston and New York champion Geoffrey Mutai, or three-time London champion Martin Lel.
Berlin champion Florence Kiplagat and Dubai second-placer Lucy Kabuu – both recent sub-2:20 runners – were among the top names who missed out on making the women’s team.
Since making his debut with a third-place finish in Paris two years ago, Kipsang has won all of his marathons, most recently in London last weekend with a 2:04:40 victory. Ran the second-fastest time in history with his 2:03:42 win in Frankfurt last October.
Set his PB of 2:05:04 in Rotterdam 2009, but was still a relative unknown at that point. He went on to win the world title that year smashing the championship record with 2:06:54. Followed it up with another world title two years later in Daegu. Like Mosop, he is coached by Renato Canova.
Debuted in Boston last year with 2:03:06 behind Geoffrey Mutai, both clocking the two fastest times in history, albeit on a downhill course. Went on to win the Chicago Marathon in October, then finished third and top Kenyan in this year’s Rotterdam Marathon. Has run no slower than 2:05:37.
Won three low-key marathons between 2009-2011 before winning World Championships silver in Daegu last year. Smashed her PB by more than two and a half minutes in London last weekend to finish third with 2:20:14.
Had established herself as the world’s best half-marathon runner before moving up to the marathon. After an unspectacular 2:29:01 debut in New York, she won the 2011 London Marathon in 2:19:19. Improved on that last weekend to defend her title with an African record of 2:18:36, making her the third-fastest woman in history.
A former junior prodigy who has progressed very steadily into the senior ranks as a marathon runner. Won the 2010 New York title, then became world champion in 2011, leading a Kenyan sweep of the medals. Improved her PB to 2:19:50 when finishing second to Keitany last weekend in London.