Confusion reigned at Kenya’s Kasarani camp for the World Championships on Tuesday with all five athletes named in the 800 metres team training despite a directive from Athletics Kenya that Michael Saruni — who finished third in the June trials — be dropped from the London-bound team.
The situation was reduced to a bizarre blame game with no one ready to face and tell upcoming, US-based athlete Saruni that he been dropped from the team.
Saruni returned to camp at Kasarani on Monday night after his manager, 1988 Olympic 800m gold medallist Paul Ereng, told him to do.
The University of Texas at El Paso freshman on Tuesday said that no one in camp has informed him of his fate, even after defending world champion and record holder David Rudisha made a passionate appeal for Saruni to be kept in the team.
“It would have been right if someone informed me instead of reading it (axing from team) in the media,” said Saruni. “I only returned to camp on Monday after Ereng told me that all was well.”
After a closed door meeting with the athletes and then the team management on Monday evening, Athletics Kenya vice president in charge of competitions Paul Mutwii said Saruni had been dropped.
Mutwii said Rudisha, 2016 Diamond League Series winner Ferguson Rotich, trials winner Emmanuel Korir and World Under-20 champion Kipyegon Bett were in the team.
“It’s you who is breaking the news to me now… nobody has told me anything since I reported back,” said Saruni.
“It’s very discouraging and disappointing.”
Mutwii and middle distance coach Bernard Ouma said the selection panel was left with no other option after Saruni left camp.
“I acknowledged leaving the camp following what I read in the press, but no one called me on the contrary.”
Rudisha said on Tuesday that Saruni deserved to be in the team by virtue of the 1-2-3 selection criteria adding that it’s either him or Rotich who should have paved way.
Drop Ferguson Rotich and hand Saruni his ticket to London!