By Isaack Omulo
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Eliud Kipchoge, winner of the last two London Marathons, has been named in a preliminary Kenyan squad for the Rio Olympics, but there was no place for world record holder Dennis Kimetto.
London Marathon winner Jemima Sumgong heads the women's list for Kenya, who will pick three men and three women to send to Rio.
World record holder Kimetto did not make the cut for the men, however, having failed this year to reproduce the form that made him the only man ever to break two hours and three minutes, which he did in Berlin in 2014.
Instead, Athletics Kenya named Kipchoge, Stanley Biwott, runner up in London last month, and Wesley Korir, who won the Boston Marathon in 2012 and came fourth in the same race last month. Dickson Chumba, a previous winner of the Chicago, Tokyo, Rome and Eindhoven marathons, Cyprian Kotut, a winner of the Paris Marathon, and Martin Lel also made the list.
A member of the selection panel said Kipchoge, Biwott and Korir -- who is also a member of parliament -- would be on the team, while the others would be reserves.
Sumgong is joined on the women's side by Florence Kiplagat, who won the Chicago marathon last October, Mary Keitany, who was second in London last month but won the same race in 2012, and Joyce Chepkirui. Kiplagat, Keitany and Sumgong are favorites to make the trip to Rio.
“They have been given up to Tuesday to confirm availability in the team,” Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei told reporters at the AK headquarters in Nairobi on Friday.
Kipchoge confirmed his readiness to represent Kenya in Rio.
"I really need that thing (Olympic gold). I am fit and I will train normally because I have to remain fit now and everything will fall in place," Kipchoge, 31, who won London in 2:03:05, the second-fastest time ever, told Reuters by phone from his base in Eldoret, about 350 kms northwest of Nairobi.
Kipchoge and Keitany also won the 2015/2016 World Marathon Majors overall title after accumulating the most points in the series of big city marathons including the Tokyo, London, Boston, Chicago, Berlin and New York City races.
Sumgong, 31, survived a big fall in last month’s London Marathon to win the race. She has also won in Rotterdam, Las Vegas and has been runner-up in Boston, Chicago and New York.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)