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Athletics coach reveals why in-form Sharon Lokedi was rejected by Brigid Kosgei for Kenyan Olympic team

The veteran coach has shed light on the reasons that influenced the selection of Brigid Kosgei over Sharon Lokedi for the Olympic Games, despite the latter’s great form in recent races.

Veteran athletics coach Julius Kirwa has revealed the reasons why Athletics Kenya opted for Brigid Kosgei in favor of Sharon Lokedi in the Olympic Games marathon team.

Lokedi was rejected from the three-man squad that includes Kosgei, defending champion Peres Jepchirchir and Hellen Obiri, despite her impressive recent performances and was named as a reserve.

Various theories have been floated as to why Lokedi, who finished third in New York last year before a second place finish in Boston, was overlooked by Kosgei, the former world record holder, who could only manage fifth place in London. this year even if he won the Lisbon Half Marathon in March.

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However, Kirwa, who was part of the selector panel that formed the team, says the experience of racing in a championship tilted the tide in favor of Kosgei, who won Olympic silver in Tokyo three years ago.

“They are all equal in pace and consistency, but some do not know how to run without a pacemaker, so it is our duty to know who can sustain any change in the course of the competition.” Kirwa said Pulse sports.

“They’re both good, so we’re not underestimating anyone, but remember, Brigit has a world-leading time (2:14:04, the second-fastest time ever), so she’s equally good.

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“Sharon is good, but there are some areas where she fell short because we haven’t seen her run on her own without a pacemaker. “This is a different championship from the big marathons.”

There have also been claims that Lokedi missed out due to sponsorship reasons. Kit maker Nike, sponsor of the Kenyan team at the Olympics and world championships, is believed to have always wanted to have a representative in the team, which would not have been possible if Jepchirchir, Obiri and Lokedi were among the final three.

However, Kirwa has distanced his team from the claim, saying the selectors made their decision based on the riders’ performance and experience.

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“That’s internal, maybe it could be, but we didn’t take care of it. “I can’t comment on that because we focus on performance.” Kirwa added.

With London Marathon champion Jepchirchir, two-time Boston Marathon winner Obiri and Kosgei, who won twice in Chicago and twice in London as well as setting a world record in 2019, Kenya has a formidable team that should bounce back. gold medal. home.

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