Monday, February 22, 2010

Boit back after Olympic disappointment

Philip Boit of Kenya.  Photo/REUTERS

Philip Boit of Kenya. Photo/REUTERS 

NAIROBI

Kenya’s only ski racer, Philip Boit, is back home without participating in his planned last Winter Olympics after falling ill in the United States.

The 39-year-old veteran of three Winter Olympics and three world championships said he had now postponed his retirement from cross-country skiing until next year.

“Unfortunately, I failed to make the qualifying times in competitions arranged for me in the United States to qualify for the Games after I fell ill,” Boit told Reuters by telephone from his home in Eldoret on Monday.

“I have now postponed my retirement to February next year after the world championships in Oslo.”

Boit carried the Kenyan flag in Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002) and Turin (2006), and had intended to end his skiing career in Vancouver, where he had planned to ski the 15km event and would have been Kenya’s sole Games entrant.

“I should not have returned home after training in Finland last year,” he said. “The changes in weather from minus 19 degrees in Finland to plus 25 in Kenya and then minus three in Washington affected my health.

“Had I gone to the United States straight from Finland, I would have made it. The fever that hit me due to changing weather had a toll in my body. I could not move my hands. It is a pity because I was so prepared for the event.

“Friends in Norway have asked me to prepare for the world championships in Oslo, Norway, next year. I have to postpone my retirement until after that,” the former middle-distance runner added.

Boit competed in the 1999 ski world championships in Ramsau, Austria, as well as Sapporo, Japan, in 2007 and Liberec, Czech Republic, last year. (Reuters)