A nice problem to have

Patrick Makau of Kenya during the Virgin London Marathon 2011 (Christopher Lee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in the Sunday Times there is a very small article about something that is undoubtedly a very big issue in the country in question: the problem that the Kenyan Olympic selectors have in choosing a team to send to the 2012 games in London. The Times reports that Kenya has produced too many of the world’s top marathon runners to be able to choose the maximum three that they are allowed to send to the Games this year.

According to David Okeyo, the head of athletics in Kenya

It’s nothing short of a headache

The list that Okeyo and his team must choose from is really extraordinary and includes:

  • Abel Kirui, two-time world champion
  • Patrick Makau, world record-holder
  • Geoffrey Mutai, winner of the Boston and New York marathons
  • Emmanuel Mutai, winner of last year’s London marathon
  • Wilson Kipsang, who won the Frankfurt marathon

I recently wrote about the way that the USA picks it’s marathon team – get all the leading contenders together and have a race. In the case of the Americans this will be at the Houston marathon in a few weeks. You can read my thoughts on that here.

But the Kenyans use a similar process to many Olympic team selectors, including Team GB. They are supposed to just pick the runners that (a) have met the qualifying standard and (b) they think will give them the best hope of at least one medal. So how do the Kenyan selectors pick? Well this is the most interesting bit. Quite a few of the runners in contention want the Kenyan selectors to let all those who want to be considered for the team have a race and the first three home come to the Games in London in August.

Now whether or not you think this is the best way to pick a team, if that is what the Kenyan selectors decide to do there is a distinct possibility that they will pick a race that is very close to my heart as the trails race – the London marathon in April 2012. Can you imagine? That would have to be the most tremendous smack-down of all time. I’m just disappointed that if they do go down that route, I’ll be too busy with  my own race to see it unfold live!

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About simon

I run marathons. Everything else is a result of that.

4 Responses to “A nice problem to have”

  1. Bangs and a Bun January 2, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Yikes, I would not like that job at all. However, as I’ll be spectating at London Marathon this year, I’m all for them settling it that way!

    • simon January 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Bangs, it will be quite a spectacle if the Kenyans do have a race to decide the team in London this year. You’ll have to be quick to get round the course if you want to follow them though!

  2. Bridget January 3, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Bittersweet to say the least. It’s going to be absolutely fascinating to see how this all unfolds. It just seems incredible that an athlete could be in excellent form and have recently won one of the biggest marathons in the world, yet still be (justifiably!) rejected to go to the Olympics!

    • simon January 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      It is an amazing thought that the two-time world champion might well not be racing in the Olympics. Could you imagine if Team GB had three or four 5,000m runners faster than Mo Farah and were thinking that he might not be on the team for London 2012??? Crazy!

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