News in brief
Athletics Kenya (AK) has decided not to stage Olympic marathon trials and will instead pick the team for Rio based on results in international races – starting with this month’s Tokyo Marathon.
The decision follows disappointing results in the 2012 London Olympics as well as at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Moscow and Beijing.
A statement from AK said: “Following consultations with athletes, coaches and other stakeholders regarding the selection of the marathon team to represent Kenya during the 2016 Olympic Games, the selection of the athletes will be based on performances and results achieved from the IAAF World Championships 2015, Tokyo marathon, London marathon, Berlin marathon, Chicago marathon, New York marathon and any other marathon held not later than 30 April 2016.
“The athletes selected will be announced on 1 May 2016, and thereafter will be informed when and where to go for residential training camp in preparation for the Olympics.”
The decision would grant the 2015 Berlin marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge his wish to seek selection in the Olympic team. The former world 5000m champion Kipchoge, who missed selection for the London Olympics after finishing seventh at the Kenyan trials, has expressed his desire to run the marathon in Rio.
Tokyo Sexwale, a South African businessman and former political prisoner who fought against apartheid, is one of the contenders to be the next President of FIFA, world football’s governing body.
Sexwale, who announced his intention to run at a press conference in Johannesburg, has the backing of the South African FA. The election will be held on 26 February in Zurich, Switzerland, with five candidates in the running, following the high-profile resignation of Sepp Blatter.
Sexwale, 62, brings experience and gravitas to the table. A long-time campaigner for equal rights, he was imprisoned on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela during apartheid and later served as a South African cabinet minister. He is also currently a FIFA anti-racism adviser as well as a successful businessman.
Kenya’s rugby sevens stars will be flying the flag at the Rio Olympics after qualifying in dramatic style (see page 38). They join South Africa as the continent’s two confirmed representatives after the Springboks sealed their place by finishing second in the 2014-15 IRB Sevens World Series. Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Morocco, who made up the rest of the top four in the African qualifier, now take part in a final qualification tournament involving 16 teams who fell short in their respective continental championships. Only the winning team will play in Rio. It is the first time rugby sevens has ever been included in the Games.
What’s on in February
3 Cricket – South Africa v England ODI, Bloemfontein
4-7 Golf – Dubai Desert Classic
6 Rugby Union – Six Nations begins
6-8 Rugby Union – IRB Sevens, Sydney, Australia
6 Cricket – South Africa v England ODI, Port Elizabeth
9 Cricket – South Africa v England ODI, Centurion
12 Football – African Champions League begins
12 Cricket – South Africa v England ODI, Johannesburg
13 Cross Country Athletics – Kenya Cross Country, Nairobi
14 Cricket – South Africa v England ODI, Cape Town
16 Football – UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 begins
19 Cricket – South Africa v England T20, Cape Town
21 Cricket – South Africa v England T20, Johannesburg
One-to-one with Yaya Touré
Yaya Touré has already won titles in England and Africa – now he’s going for European glory in 2016! The Ivory Coast star, who led his country to victory in the African Cup of Nations last year, is targeting club success with English side Manchester City in the Champions League. The midfielder has won two Premier League titles during his time at City but craves European glory after his side qualified for the last 16, due to be played this month.
Q What was your highlight of 2015 and what drives you now?
“Winning the African Cup of Nations as captain of Les Elephants. That was always my biggest desire, so to do it was special. Unforgettable. It will be hard to match!”
• What’s your ambition for your club side in 2016 then?
“The Champions League is big for us. The club has been in the shadow of Man United for too long. But our chairman and directors have shown their desire – they have been really ambitious and they want to make this club better than any in the world.”
• MAN City seem to have difficulty in the Champions League though. Can you do better this time?
“I believe we can. We have no excuses. We have new fantastic players and we are hungry for success.”