Florence Kiplagat, the world cross-country senior women’s champion, will not run at next weekend’s Athletics Kenya national cross-county trials.
The trials will also be the national championships and an IAAF permit meeting and are sponsored by the Kenya Commercial Bank.
Kiplagat, who ended Kenya’s long gold drought in the senior women’s race by winning in Amman, Jordan, last year, has not been training since the end of last year as she is still recovering from a hamstring injury she picked up at the Berlin World Championships while running in the 10,000 metres last year.
She will not board the flight to Bydgoszcz, Poland, next month to defend her world cross country title.
“I have not recovered well. But I hope to get well soon to catch up with the track season. But a persistent cough and flu also barred me from training since December 24 last year,” she said.
“The flu sidelined me from the cold and chilly morning training sessions.
“Thus, I have not raced in both KCB and AK cross country meetings and I was unable to represent my Kenya Police team at the national Police championships a fortnight ago, besides missing the IAAF cross-country permit meetings this season.
“Although I am not in shape to defend the title, I wish fellow Kenyans the best as they prepare for the nationals next week,” said Kiplagat, a mother of one.
The highly talented long distance runner said she had not consulted with world athletics governing body, IAAF, over her health.
But Athletics Kenya public relations officer, Peter Angwenyi, said the federation knew the runner was still nursing the injury and were assessing her recovery.
“We are aware of her condition, and we are monitoring her closely. The injury sidelined her from racing in the local and European circuit. But we wish her a quick recovery,” Angwenyi told the Sunday Nation on telephone on Saturday.
The Iten-based runner led fellow Kenyan Linet Masai in Amman to a 1-2 sweep victory in the senior women’s cross country race, stepping into the shoes of Hellen Chemweno, who romped to victory at the 1994 World Cross Country Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Apart from leading the women’s side to a team gold medal, Kiplagat also brought women’s performances in cross country running an inch closer to the men’s successes.