Saruni debate hangs in the air

Athletics Kenya continues to haggle over the composition of the 800m team to the World Championships with conflicting reports over the omission of United States-based Michael Saruni.
While social media was awash with reports that Saruni had been dropped, AK president Jack Tuwei said they are yet to officially name the team which has world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha, Diamond League trophy holder Ferguson Rotich, world junior champion Kipyegon Bett, Emmanuel Korir and Saruni.
“We are going to let you know soon,” said Tuwei.
However, sources at the team’s training camp at Moi Stadium, Kasarani indicated that Saruni left on Thursday evening, with information on whether he was told to or not still unclear.
“He just picked his bags yesterday (Thursday) and left. We don’t know whether he was told to or not,” said the source. “There is so much going on in the 800m and the men’s relay teams.”
The 4x400m team, according to the source, was supposed to travel to Belgium for an invitation meeting where they were expected to qualify, but they never left the country yesterday as anticipated and will therefore miss the July 23rd race.
Saruni’s coach Paul Ereng said it was wrong for AK to bend their own rules, which stipulated that the first three across the line during the national trials would gain automatic ticket to London, as far as they have qualified within the set IAAF standards.
Saruni finished third behind Korir and Bett.
Rudisha did not compete at the trials while Ferguson finished fourth after falling to the youngsters.
“AK should stick to the qualification rules it announced before trials of taking the first three in each event. I don’t see any reason why Kenya should field two wildcards in one discipline yet IAAF rules are clear,”Ereng who is the former Olympic 800m gold medallist said.
As it stands, AK have contravened the IAAF entry rules for the London show which states that: “Reigning IAAF World Champions, 2016 IAAF Diamond League and Hammer Throw Challenge winners can be offered wildcard entries. Each country can only have one wildcard entry per discipline.”
Saruni’s case is a stark reminder of the fuss that engulfed the 5000m race during the 2016 Rio Olympics where Yosei Mneria was dropped from the 10,000m race to the 5000m.
Kenya ended up missing out in fielding a runner in the 5000m final.

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