Olympic champions Rudisha and Kemboi sail through Kenya trials

Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:05pm EDT
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By Isaack Omulo

ELDORET, Kenya Jun 30 (Reuters) - Kenya’s Olympic champions David Rudisha, Brimin Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi cruised to the finals of their races as the east African nation’s Olympic trials kicked off on Thursday.

But Thomas Longosiwa, who won bronze in the 2012 London Olympics missed out on one of the three slots for selection to the Rio Games, which begin on Aug. 5, after finishing fourth in the 5,000 meters -- a race won by Commonwealth Games champion and last year’s world silver medalist Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku.

The first two qualified automatically, but Longosiwa also missed out on the selectors' "merit" choice, which will go to Geoffrey Kamworor.

Longisiwa was the second major casualty of the punishing Kenyan trials, which were watched by an unusually large crowd at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

Earlier, Olympic silver medalist, Sally Kipyego was defeated in the women’s 10,000m and missed her ticket to Rio.

Rudisha, the 800m world and Olympic champion and world record holder, won the third semi-final of the star-studded race in 1:43.4 ahead of Jackson Kivuva (1:44.0) and Jonathan Kitilit (1:45.3).

Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, who is leading on the Diamond League circuit and has emerged as Rudisha’s main challenger, won the second semi-final in 1:46.0, with London Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Kitum second in 1:46.5 and Patrick Kiprotich third in 1:46.9.

Alfred Kipketer won the first semi-final in 1:45.2.   Continued...

Athletics - Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Men's 800 meter trials - Eldoret, Kenya - 30/6/16 - David Rudisha (R) competes. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya