Champions left out of Kenyan Olympic team

NAIROBI, MAY 8. Kenya's Rotterdam marathon champion Kennedy Cheruiyot and Boston marathon women's winner Catherine Ndereba have been left out of the country's Sydney Olympics marathon team announced by the Kenya Amateur Athletic Association (KAAA).

Cheruiyot and Ndereba were expected to earn automatic places in the squad by virtue of winning at Rotterdam and Boston, but have been replaced by the Japan-based duo of Japhet Koskei and Esther Wanjiru.

However, KAAA secretary David Okeyo said the two champions had been called into training as standby in case any of the six selected athletes was injured before the team left for Sydney in August.

Despite winning virtually all the marathon races in the world over the last couple years, Kenya has not been able to turn the success into medals at the Olympic Games.

Only former London marathon champion Kenyan Douglas Wakkihuri has done anything outstanding, winning the World championship gold in Rome in 1987 and the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand, three years later.

The KAAA hopes the selected team, a bled of youth and experience will change the sequence.Kenyan athletics has been ripped apart by internal feuding this year.

Paul Tergat was recently prevented from defending his world cross country championship in Portugal because of internal wrangling - it cost him the chance of a sixth consecutive win in the race.