Saruni says 'shape' reason was just an excuse after being axed from Team Kenya

By alex wafula
Jul 30, 2017
  • Emmanuel Korir(084)wins the finals of the 800m where Michael Saruni(partly hidden 086)finished third.(Photo:Shutterspeed)

United States based 800m athlete Michael Saruni is distraught after Athletics Kenya made a decision to axe him from the Kenyan team to the IAAF World Championships in London next month.

According to Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, the Athletics Kenya boss, the decision was made by the technical committee which felt he was not in the right shape.

Saruni, speaking to Sports News Arena said the ‘shape’ reason was just an excuse. According to him, the reason given was ‘indiscipline’ because of missing camp for two days.

There has been simmering talk in the last few weeks over the composition of the 800m team with AK having initially named a team of five. However, IAAF has a provision for only four.

The top three finishers form the national trials, Saruni, Emmanuel Korir and youngster Kipyegon Bett were named alongside the two eligible wild cards, defending world champion David Rudisha and 2016 Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich.

Talk had been rife that Saruni would be axed to accommodate Rotich with AK vice president in charge of competitions Paul Mutwii earlier being quoted affirming the same.

Rotich finished fourth during the national trials while Rudisha did not participate.

“I am very disappointed because this is so unfair to me as an upcoming athlete. They said that I left the camp without permission but that was during the time when social media was awash with word that I was dropped. Saying that I am not in shape is a joke sincerely,” a dejected Saruni said.

Our system operates under lies

He further posted on his Facebook page; “Its confirmed that am out of team Kenya that would compete in the World Championships 2017. This proves that our system still operates under lies, corruption and conspiracy."

"It’s so shameful just a few individuals make the whole system look rotten and your acts will haunt you forever that am sure of. But it’s life. I just want to thank all those who have stood with me and fought for what’s right, and I promise you, I won’t let you down.”

In their explanation, AK said that the four who have been submitted to IAAF are in top shape and will bring Kenya the medals.

“We have a technical committee and they are trained. They are there for a reason and we have to let them do their work. If they tell us that an athlete is not in shape and the other is, we cannot contest. There is nothing sinister in that team,” Tuwei announced.

Speaking to Sports News Arena earlier, Rotich pointed out that AK should have made it clear from the word go on which wild card would be going, his or Rudisha’s to avoid the doubt.

He however said he was solely focused on preparing for London and getting his first ever major championship gold medal.

It is not only Saruni that has been axed from the team but hurdler Haron Koech as well.

With his brother, defending champion Nicholas Bett out with injury, Koech carried Kenya’s hopes but that has been dashed with AK announcing that the IAAF system had rejected his entry.

Koech failed to attain the qualification time of 49.35 during the national trials. He registered for a race in Italy last weekend and clocked 49.39, a time that pushed him to 35th in the world.

Consider Koech ranking

AK contest that as per his ranking, he should be considered.

“There will be 40 hurdlers in London and surely, Haron being number 35 has to be on the list. We have talked to IAAF thrice about it and we will continue pushing. Hopefully, he will be allowed in,” Tuwei added.

Also, both the men and women’s 4x400m relays teams will not be travelling as they did not attain the qualification time by July 24. Also axed is triple jumper Elijah Kimitei.

The exit of the relays teams affects Maureen Jelagat, Veronicah Mutua and Jecinta Shikanda as well as Alphas Kishoyian.

At the same time, sprinter Mark Otieno has been confirmed for both the 100m and 200m. The national champion in both distances says he is excited to make his international bow in the two events and his realistic target is to get off the heats.

“It is every sprinter’s dream to make it to the World Championships and compete with the best there is. I feel great getting this opportunity and I am hoping I can make a mark, get off the groups and from there, who knows,” the 24-year old said.

The team will travel in two batches, the first leaving Nairobi for London on Tuesday while the second batch will leave on August 5.