World Cross country senior women’s champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, will not defend her title on March 24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Although the 29-year-old World 5,000m and 10,000m champion didn’t take part in the Kenya Police Cross-country Championships, many expected her to get a wild card to the National Championships on February 16 at Uhuru Gardens.
Cheruiyot’s coach Moses Kiplagat said the athlete wants to concentrate on training to defend her two World Athletics Championship titles between August 10 to 18 in Moscow, Russia.
But before the World Championships, Kiplagat said Cheruiyot, who is currently training in Kaptagat, intends to take part in a series of IAAF Permit meetings to gauge her form.
“We have seen it wise for her to consolidate her energies for the Worlds where she is eager to retain her two titles,” Kiplagat said. “Her training is going on well without injury worries.”
Kenya Police staged their Cross country event a fortnight ago, with the 2006 Commonwealth 10,000m champion Lucy Kabuu claiming victory to make the team for the national contest. Also in the Police team are Linet Masai who lost to Cheruiyot to settle for silver at the 2011 World Cross held in Punta Umbria, Spain, and World Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat.
Cheruiyot won the 10,000m title at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where Masai claimed bronze after Sally Kipyego won silver as Kenya swept all the podium places.
Cheyuiyot prevailed during the London Olympic Games trials but settled for bronze in the 10,000m race besides winning silver in the 5,000m. Masai suffered stomach cramps hence failing to make the London Olympic Games team.
“It will require good preparations before the Moscow battle and we want to avoid a burn out,” said Kiplagat, adding that Cheruiyot will turn to the half marathon after the World Championships.
First in line for Cheruiyot is the Doha IAAF Permit Meeting in May.
Meanwhile, London Marathon champion Mary Keitany will not defend her title on April 21. Keitany, 31, said she is unfit and will not rush her body simple to make up the numbers in London. “I had the invite to return to London and defend my title, but I am not in the right shape, so I will not defend my crown. However, I will return to London in future,” she said in Iten.
Keitany was non-committal on whether she will compete at the World Championships in Moscow in August.
“I have not been training and maybe if I get back to form, I will challenge for a slot in the Kenyan team. But for now, I have to wait.”
“There are many Kenyans going to London and they can represent us well. Edna (Kiplagat) and Florence Kiplagat are both strong and we also have Priscah Jeptoo. The Kenyan line-up is strong,” she said.
Keitany’s withdrawal does not in any way water down the challenge as Edna Kiplagat (2:19:50), Berlin marathon champion Florence Kiplagat (2:19:44), and two-time Olympian Lucy Kabuu (2:19:34) will compete. Florence is also the 2010 world half-marathon champion.