London Marathon 2012: Kenyan Selection System Will Hurt Champs at Olympics

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 22:  Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany of Kenya pose with Prince Harry after winning the men and women's Elite race during the Virgin London Marathon 2012 on April 22, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany made Kenya proud on Saturday, making it a clean sweep for the country at the 2012 London Marathon.

But Kenya may not be doing its own runners any favors with the London Olympics approaching. From Jere Longman of The New York Times:

Also, the protracted, vague selection process will leave the Kenyans with what is considered only a minimum amount of time—just over 100 days—to recover for the Olympic marathon. (The United States, for instance, held its Olympic marathon trials in January.)

As Rob Harris of the Associated Press reported, neither runner is assured they have an Olympic spot yet. It certainly weighed on the mind of Kipsang:

The reigning Frankfurt Marathon champion hopes the victory in London earned him a return ticket here for the Olympic competition on Aug. 12.

"I have done my part," he said. "Now it's up to the officials at Athletics Kenya to do their selections."

Keitany echoed those sentiments:

"Everyone was just looking for the Olympic time in order to be selected," she said. "It's great for me to win the race for the second time. I hope they will select me now for the Olympics.

"I want to go and try to get a medal at the Olympics... on Friday I went to look at the route."

Now, I'm no marathon runner, but I would think a runner the caliber of Kipsang or Keitany would want more than 100 days to prepare for the biggest race of their lives. One would think the selection process would include something like Olympic trials.

But apparently not in Kenya.

Perhaps that is why no Kenyan woman has ever won the marathon at the Olympics since 1984, when the event was added. Or why Samuel Wanjiru was the first Kenyan male to ever win the event in 2008.

I obviously don't know definitively if that is the cause for Kenya's lack of gold-medal success at the Olympics. But it can't help, that's for sure.

Hopefully, it won't hamper the country's runners at this games. Runners like Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany deserve better.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets always hit the spot, like Philip Humber.

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter