Elite athletes pull out of Kenya teams

Saturday February 27 2016

Kenya's Gladys Cherono celebrates with the Kenyan flag after winning the women's category of the 42nd Berlin Marathon on September 27, 2015. PHOTO | JOHN MACDOUGALL |

Kenya's Gladys Cherono celebrates with the Kenyan flag after winning the women's category of the 42nd Berlin Marathon on September 27, 2015. PHOTO | JOHN MACDOUGALL |  AFP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Athletics Kenya has made changes to teams for next month’s World Indoor and World Half Marathon championships.

The women’s team for the World Half Marathon planned for March 26 in Cardiff, Wales is the most affected with three athletes opting out to prepare for London Marathon set for April 24.

AK vice president Paul Mutwii, who is the director of charge of competitions, said two changes have been effected in men’s World Half Marathon team.

AK will name men and women’s marathon teams for Rio Olympic Games after London Marathon.

World Half Marathon champion Gladys Cherono, World Half Marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat and former World Half marathon record-holder Mary Keitany will not travel to Cardiff.

They have been replaced by 2015 Lisbon Half Marathon champion Rose Chelimo, 2015 Asics Grand Berlin 10km race winner Gladys Chesire and Peris Chirchir. 

Others in the team are World Half Marathon silver medallist Mercy Wacera and 2015 Delhi champion Cynthia Limo, who is fresh from winning Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon with personal best 1:06:04 on February 12.

World’s fourth fastest man this season Stanley Biwott (58:56) and Jonathan Maiyo have been replaced by 2012 Delhi Half Marathon champion Edwin Kipyego and Charles Kotut. Kipyego and Kotut will now team up with defending champions Geoffrey Kamworor, who is also the World 10,000m silver medallist, World Cross silver medallist Bedan Karoki  and Edwin Kiptoo.

“We shall name our marathon teams for Olympics after London Marathon and most of the female athletes have opted to prepare for the race,” said Mutwii.

Changes have also been made to men’s 800m team for the World Indoor Championships planned for March 17-20. Kenya’s representative at the 2014 World Indoor Championships Jeremiah Mutai and Edwin Kemboi have replaced 2012 London Olympics 800m bronze medallist Anthony Kitum and Nicholas Kiplagat.

COURSE RECORD

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Dickson Chumba will be trying to reclaim the Tokyo Marathon title when the race go down on Sunday in Japan.

Chumba set a course record of 2:05:42 when he won in Tokyo in 2014 but wound up third in the same race last year. However, he won the Chicago Marathon eight months later.

Chumba will face among others compatriots Emmanuel Mutai who is the fastest in this year’s field and 2009 and 2011 World Marathon champion Abel Kirui. Others are Eliud Kiptanui and Bernard Kipyego.

The field has Olympic and 2013 world champion Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda and Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa.