Davenport, Iowa – The 39th Quad City Times Bix 7 Road Race goes off tomorrow, one of the summer’s top races on the U.S. road tour. Preparing for KWQC-TVs live broadcast (coverage begins at 7 a.m. central time, the race starts at 8 a.m.), I called agent Brendan Reilly (Boulder Wave, Inc.) for an update on his athlete Diane Nukuri-Johnson, winner of the Bay to Breakers 12K in San Francisco and one of the favorites in the Bix7 women’s race. Soon, however, our talk turned to this week’s news that Athletics Kenya has once again taken a hard line with its athletes in preparation for the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Moscow where Reilly’s client Edna Kiplagat of Kenya will be defending her 2011 world title in the women’s marathon.
As has been reported, Kenyan athletes originally scheduled to compete in today and tomorrow’s Diamond League meeting in London have been withheld by order of their federation — “London is too close to Moscow and this may burn out our athletes,” Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat told Reuters.
This decision comes in the wake of Kenya’s poor showing at last year’s London Olympic Games — they aimed for 12 gold medals, but returned home with only two – David Rudisha in the 800m, and Ezikiel Kemboi in the 3000m steeplechase. AK came away feeling their athletes had over-raced ahead of time. Immediately following the Games the federation decreed that any Kenyan marathoner eligible for a position on the 2016 Rio Olympic Marathon squad will not be allowed to participate in a spring marathon before the Rio Games. These decisions have not been well received within the agent fraternity, and Brendan Reilly, for one, feels his profession is getting something of a bum rap. (more…)