World 1500 metres champion Timothy Cheruiyot, left out of the Kenyan Olympic team after finishing outside the top three qualifying places at last month’s trials, has been added to the squad for Tokyo 2020.
The 25-year-old from Bomet expressed hopes after his win that he would be able try to add the Olympic gold medal to his world title and he is now due to do that against a field that will include his perennial 20-year-old Norwegian rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen, European record holder with 3:28.68.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team,” Cheruiyot, now the favourite for gold, told Agence-France Presse.
“I am in better shape than I was during the trials and I promise to deliver a medal for Kenya in Tokyo.”
Cheruiyot’s addition has been made possible by the ineligibility of the relatively unknown 18-year-old who finished second at the trials, Kamar Etyang.
He has had to be removed from the team because he does not have the minimum number of three out-of-competition tests that Kenyan athletes must fulfil in the 10 months before any major championship following the country’s placement in category A of the World Athletics and World Anti-Doping Agency watchlist.
Kenya’s Olympics general team manager Barnaba Korir told The Nation that Athletics Kenya had petitioned the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) over the issue of Etyang without success.
“It’s really unfortunate that Etyang had to be dropped due to the AIU rules which require one to be tested three times out of competition,” Korir said.
“We have explained this to the athlete and he has understood the situation we are in.”
He added that the AIU were unable to make exceptions to the ruling.