Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and his Tokyo counterpart Wilson Kipsang have withdrawn from the men’s team for the World Championships due August 4-13 in London.
Their withdrawal has now handed Kenyan marathon couple Paul Lonyangata and Purity Rionoripo, who took Paris Marathon by storm in April, another opportunity for a shot at the world marathon titles.
Lonyangata will team up with London Marathon Daniel Wanjiru and Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui in the men’s marathon team that will be seeking to reclaim the title Abel Kirui won last for Kenya at the 2011 Daegu World Championships.
Gedion Kipketer, who finished second at the 2016 Chicago Marathon and 2017 Tokyo Marathon respectively is the men’s reserve.
Lonyangata’s wife Rionoripo and World marathon silver medallist Helah Kiprop, who had not been named in the initial team, now join two times World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat in the women’s marathon team.
Rionoripo and Kiprop replaces Women’s world marathon record holder and London Marathon champion Mary Keitany and Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat, who had withdrawn from the team.
Rionoripo had been named in the reserve team alongside Agnes Barsosio, who has also been knocked out by an injury.
Commonwealth Games champion Philomena Cheyech and Valentine Kipketer, who finished second in 2016 Chicago Marathon are women’s reserves.
Athletics Kenya deputy president in charge of competitions Paul Mutwii disclosed on Sunday that Kipchoge and Kipsang, who is a former world marathon record holder have opted to go for the world marathon record at Berlin Marathon on September 25 this year.
Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto holds the world marathon record of 2:02:57 set with victory at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
Men: Daniel Wanjiru, Geoffrey Kirui, Paul Lonyangata. Reserve: Gedion Kipketer.
Women: Edna Kiplagat, Purity Rionoripo, Helah Kiprop. Reserve: Philomena Cheyech, Valentine Kipketer.